State trooper serves at inauguration

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A local man was one of 50 Georgia State Troopers, and thousands of officers from across the country, who served as part of the security detail for the inauguration of President Obama.

State Trooper 1st Class John Jackson, who works with the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt post, traveled to Washington, D.C., for four days for the inauguration, Jan. 18-21. During their duty assignments, Georgia State Troopers worked in partnership with the uniformed division of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department to provide security along the inaugural parade route and also with crowd control.

After arriving in D.C., Jackson and thousands of other state troopers from around the United States were deputized by a U.S. Marshal as temporary D.C. law enforcement. The ceremony took place in a large college gymnasium, where Trooper Jackson enjoyed meeting state troopers from Ohio, Rhode Island and other states.

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Jackson was stationed along the parade route President Obama took from the U.S. Capitol to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Several thousand people given the chance to observe the parade lined the route. Jackson helped provide crowd control. On the day of the inauguration, when Washington was affected by below-freezing temperatures, Jackson and his fellow state troopers worked from 4:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It was by far the coldest weather I had ever experienced in my life,” Jackson said. “We would stand along the parade route for about 45 minutes at a time, then we would get relieved and go to a break room set up in a nearby building to warm up before going back out.”

Troopers’ visit was special mission

Jackson was one of 50 Georgia State Troopers selected by GSP Commander Col. Bill Hitchens to go to Washington, D.C.

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for ensuring the safe and uneventful progression of the inaugural parade and with assisting the U.S. Secret Service with security at the hotels hosting the inaugural balls. GSP personnel supplemented the uniformed presence during the inauguration.

“We are all proud of those who participated, and in particular their diligence and perseverance under difficult circumstances,” said Col. Hitchens, who is also commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “The troopers are to be commended for a job well done.”

All expenses for the inaugural detail, including the troopers’ salaries, travel, meals and lodging, are being reimbursed to the Department of Public Safety by the D.C. Metropolitan Police.

Jackson a GSP veteran

Trooper Jackson joined the Georgia State Patrol on Jan. 1, 2000. He served at GSP posts in Calhoun and Valdosta before joining GSP Post 14, formerly located in Donalsonville, in 2003.

For approximately nine months during 2007-2008, Jackson was stationed in Atlanta as a member of the security detail for Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. He returned back to the GSP’s Colquitt post after his wife gave birth to their first child.