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Assistant Capitol Police Chief Tom Reynolds slept at official headquarters on the eve of Inauguration Day.
His office is spacious with a few personal touches, such as a collection of “challenge coins” from officers he’s met over the years and a handful of framed photographs. There’s one of him and his wife, whom he met on the job, and two that show the assistant chief beaming after the successful completion of marathons.
He has a desk, a large conference table and an assortment of chairs. He doesn’t, however, have a couch.
“Oh, I put something down on the floor,” Reynolds said vaguely of where he might have slept the night before the inauguration. Then he laughed. “Yeah, it is what it is.”
Reynolds was up at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 21, in preparation for President Barack Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol. By 4:30 a.m. he was at work in the Capitol Police Command Center, a large, dark and somewhat intimidating low-ceilinged room scattered with desks and phones and its walls lined with video screens showing live shots around the Capitol grounds and the airspace above the complex.
He didn’t leave the room until 8 p.m., he said, except when he needed to use the restroom. Other than that, he was manning his station, along with senior members of the Capitol Police force and leaders within the Secret Service, the Metropolitan Police Department and other law enforcement agencies around the District.
It was Reynolds’ eighth inauguration, his seventh with the Capitol Police. (The first inaugural celebration he staffed as a military policeman with the Army.)
Since that time, he’s directed traffic on a day so cold that President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 inauguration was moved indoors, served on Vice President Dan Quayle’s dignitary protection unit in 1989, taken on increased responsibilities during the first inauguration to follow the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and then oversaw the entire operation less than two weeks ago.
He probably won’t be working the next inauguration: The mandatory retirement age is 57, a milestone he’s set to reach before the 2017 inaugural celebration.
And as if preparing for what will likely be his last inauguration wasn’t enough, he also served as acting chief of the department during the last half of 2012, filling the gap between Phillip Morse’s departure for American University and Kim Dine’s arrival from the police department in Frederick, Md.
If Reynolds has any anxiety or regrets about his long tenure, it didn’t show in his recent interview with CQ Roll Call. Instead, the lean, gray-haired assistant chief was laid-back and quick with a smile and a hearty laugh. In fact, for someone with an enormous amount of responsibility, he seemed surprisingly at ease.