ANNAPOLIS — At least two of the 200 Maryland State Police troopers that Gov. Larry Hogan sent to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday — to help restore peace amid a violent and destructive insurrection by Trump supporters — are normally assigned to a barrack in Cecil County, police officials confirmed.
Hogan mobilized 200 MSP troopers who are specially trained members of the agency’s statewide mobile field force team, formerly known as the “riot team,” and the governor also deployed 500 members of the Maryland National Guard — the first national guard unit to arrive in Washington, D.C. to help members of local law enforcement agencies who were outnumbered by aggressive rioters.
Every MSP barrack in the state has at least one trooper who is a specially trained member of the mobile field force team and, depending on the situation that arises, some or all of those team members are pressed into service.
North East Barrack has several troopers who are assigned to that team and, of those, two were sent down to the nation’s capitol on Wednesday with that special squad. Information regarding the number of mobile field force team members sent from the JFK Barrack near Perryville was unavailable, as of Thursday afternoon.
“As part of a coordinated effort with federal and local law enforcement, the Maryland State Police’s mobile field force team provided security support to restore the peace at the U.S. Capitol building last night, and also assisted the Metropolitan Police throughout the night with the enforcement of curfew violations,” Hogan outlined Thursday during a press conference.
The governor further reported, “Maryland State Police commanders are in constant communication with D.C. law enforcement officials, and we have assured them that we will continue to provide any further assistance that they require.”
After noting that the Maryland National Guard is among the military and law enforcement agencies that typically provide security during presidential inaugurations, Hogan reported that, given the unrest following Wednesday’s insurgency, Maryland National Guardsmen will remain in Washington, D.C. for at least three weeks.
President-Elect Joe Biden is scheduled to take his oath of office on Jan. 20.
“Today we are extending the Maryland National Guard’s mission in Washington, D.C., through the inauguration and the end of the month,” Hogan commented.
Earlier on Thursday, Hogan met with some of the deployed Maryland National Guard members and expressed his gratitude.
“I just got back from the D.C. armory, where I had the chance to meet with and thank some of the members of the National Guard for their service on this important mission to protect our nation’s Capitol. I thanked them for their service, and told them that this assault on our democracy cannot stand,” Hogan said, before commenting, “I just want to assure all Americans that the State of Maryland will do anything and everything we possibly can to continue to secure the core of our nation’s capital, and to ensure the peaceful transition of power.”
Hogan recalled how he was in the middle of a video conference with a Japanese ambassador to the United States early Wednesday afternoon, when his chief of staff informed him that “the U.S. Capitol was under attack,” prompting the governor to excuse himself from that virtual meeting.
The governor immediately convened an emergency meeting of “our entire unified command team,” which included MSP Superintendent Col. Jerry Jones and General Tim Gowen of the Maryland National Guard, as well as Hogan’s senior staff and homeland security advisor.
“We immediately offered support to the District of Columbia, which submitted a direct request for law enforcement support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact,” the governor said, adding, “I directed Colonel Jones to mobilize our mobile field force of 200 specially-trained Maryland State Police troopers to help provide security for our nation’s Capitol. I also instructed General Gowen to immediately call up our initial response force of the Maryland National Guard.”
In the midst of that security meeting, Hogan received a call for help — from lawmakers who were sheltering for safety amid the riot.
“I got a phone call from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who was calling me saying that he and Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and Senator (Chuck) Schumer were all together in an undisclosed bunker — they had been spirited off to some undisclosed location — that the U.S. Capitol Police was overwhelmed, that there was no federal law enforcement presence, and that the leaders of Congress were pleading with me as the governor of Maryland for assistance from Maryland’s National Guard and State Police,” Hogan said.
The governor added, “I informed Speaker Hoyer and the other leaders that a force of specially trained riot police equipped to respond to civil disturbances as well as members of allied and local law enforcement agencies were already en route to the Capitol.”
Hogan also informed them, though, that he had encountered a snag.
“I also told them that I authorized the mobilization of the Maryland National Guard and that I was ready, willing, and able to immediately deploy them to the Capitol. However, we were repeatedly denied approval to do so. Under federal law, the mayor of the District of Columbia does not have authority over the guard, and we must receive approval from the Secretary of Defense, before we’re able to send our Maryland National Guard across the border into the federal city, into the District of Columbia. So we had a little back and forth, trying to get that authorization. In the meantime, we did not hesitate to continue to mobilize and get ready so that if and when we finally got that approval, we could immediately move,” Hogan explained.
About 90 minutes later, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy called Hogan on his cell phone and gave the authority needed to move the supportive units into the city, according to Hogan. Th governor reported that he did not recognize the number of the incoming call and described the call as “out of the blue, not normal channels.”
“The initial contingent of Maryland National Guard members were the first to arrive in Washington from out of state,” Hogan noted.
Toward the beginning of his press conference, Hogan commented, “Yesterday our nation’s Capitol—the seat of our federal government and the heart of our American democracy—came under siege in a heinous and violent assault.”
After providing a historical perspective of the peaceful transition of power that has occurred in the United States for the past 236 years, Hogan indirectly criticized Trump for his failure to concede to Biden after losing the Nov. 3 election and for unyieldingly claiming that the presidency had been stolen from him through widespread voter fraud — without providing any evidence.
“Over the last two months, this sacred tradition has come under attack from our own president, who has chosen to fan the flames of hate and mislead millions of voters through lies and conspiracy theories rather than face the reality of his own defeat,” Hogan said.
The governor continued, “It’s clear to me that President Trump has abandoned this sacred oath. What we saw in the nation’s Capitol was not just an attack on people’s representatives, or historic buildings, and our law enforcement. It was an attack on the rule of law, the foundations of self-government, and who we are as Americans.”
Near the end of the press conference, Hogan, in response to a reporter’s question, opined, “There is no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office.” The governor then expressed confidence that Vice-President Pence could effectively finish Trump’s term and oversee the peaceful transition of power during the 13 days before Biden’s scheduled inauguration.
Hogan also vowed to do his part to restore order and dignity to the United States.
“The mob may have shattered glass, but they did not and they will not shatter our democracy,” Hogan said. “I could never fathom a day like yesterday in America, but I will not stand for it and neither should any American. I think I speak for many Americans when I say: Enough is enough. Enough of the lies, enough of the hate, enough of the total dysfunction. Just enough. And I promise to do everything in my power to rebuild trust in what makes this nation great, to heal old wounds rather than inflame them, and to make sure that democracy—that the people—always prevail.”