Northam’s inauguration not ‘first rodeo’ for Virginia Capitol Police

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RICHMOND, Va. -- It's a long-honored tradition and duty for the Virginia Capitol Police to protect the governor during his four-year term. That will be no different as Governor-elect Ralph Northam prepares to be sworn-in on Saturday.

"Hundreds of hours of planning have gone into this," said Capitol Police spokesman Joe Macenka. "It is obviously not the first rodeo for Virginia Capitol Police."

Northam will become the Commonwealth’s 73rd governor during an inauguration with a turnout predicted in the thousands.

"We have hundreds of law-enforcement personnel that will be here in uniform and in plainclothes," Macenka said.

As showers poured onto the preparations at Capitol Square throughout the day Friday, some wondered whether the rain may damper attendance.

"There was a fair amount of rain years ago for Governor Terry McAuliffe's inauguration. A lot of people braved the elements and it turned out to be a nice crowd," Macenka explained.

Attendance didn't falter during bitter temperatures and a cold breeze that blew during former Governor Douglas Wilder's inauguration on the South Portico of the state Capitol in 1990.

Fortunately, for this inauguration, the National Weather Service predicted the rain will end by the time gates are scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

About 4,000 people are expected to attend the inauguration and parade, according to the Northam Inaugural Committee.

The temporary grandstands that could seat 5,000 have been standing for weeks, but will be taken down after the inauguration.

Last minute touches like wheeling in loud speakers, mic checks, and installing signage was completed throughout Friday.

A last minute guide to the inauguration of Virginia's 73rd governor can be found here.

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