National Guard sent to protect Capitol; 3 SHPD officers called up for service

According to a recent release from the Virginia National Guard has sent 1,000 troops to Washington DC as of January 9. They also plan to provide about 2,000 personnel to join a force of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from neighboring states by the end of the weekend.

The Soldiers and Airmen will assist in protecting property and providing a safe environment for citizens to exercise their right to peacefully assemble and protest. The VNG personnel are scheduled to be on duty through the Presidential Inauguration January 20.”

Governor Ralph Northam authorized the deployment of the Virginia National Guard after a request from the mayor of Washington D.C. Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau asked “multiple states to identify units able to support law enforcement and the Washington D.C. National Guard.” Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York have also sent in National Guard units for support.

On January 7, the South Hill Police Department posted the following statement on their social media page, “Three of our officers have been called up for service in DC. Please keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers during this troublesome time. We are thankful for them and their service and wish for a safe mission and a speedy return home.” The post prompted an outpouring of support from members of the community offering well wishes and prayers. Officers Russ Inge, John Childers, and Shane Nichols are the three officers that are currently defending the Capitol. South Hill Police Chief Stuart Bowen says, “We are hoping for a safe mission for them and a speedy return. We are so proud of the outstanding service the provide for our community, to the Commonwealth, and to our nation.”

The first group of Virginia National Guard personnel began assembling last Wednesday evening and the first group started providing support on Thursday. Additional troops arrived on Friday, and more will arrive on Saturday and Sunday. “They will remain under the control of the Virginia Governor under Title 32, 502 (f) orders for up to 31 days. Civilian law enforcement officers are responsible for the safety and security of all personnel, and the National Guard will provide assistance as requested.”

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a recent news release, “We greatly appreciate the support from the entire National Guard team across the region to respond to law enforcement officers who needed help, and we are proud of our Guard members who supported the lead agencies in this mission.”