Inauguration Security Explained

We are about to experience a Presidential Inauguration unlike any other in American history. Having worked a couple as a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, I can tell you it is always a massive undertaking and the logistics are hard to comprehend. There are a lot of moving pieces, many players are involved, and security is always tight. With the act of insurrection we witnessed during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021, the threat level for this inauguration went from high to off-the-charts. But what does that mean? Are President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris going to be in danger? How will all of this work?

None of what I’m about to explain involves sensitive information. In fact, you can find most of in the newspaper – if you can find an actual newspaper. But when an inauguration occurs, a secure zone is set up in Washington, D.C. This zone is actually divided into multiple zones for Secret Service purposes, but that’s simply for assignment and coordination purposes. The larger secure zone is where no general public will be allowed inside unless they are somehow credentialed, ticketed, and/or screened. Now for this inauguration, the zone is massive – larger than it has ever been and for good reason. Due to the act of domestic terrorism that occurred in early January and the intelligence out there that indicates there is intent to disrupt this inauguration or attack other government complexes, expanding the zone became a necessity.

Another necessity involved bringing in up to 25,000 National Guard troops. Many arrived shortly after the attack on the Capitol and have been stationed there and thousands more are flooding into the district. This should seem reassuring. Here we have thousands of soldiers teaming up with thousands of law enforcement officers to secure an event. So what’s the problem?

If you’ve followed the news, you know exactly what might be the problem. We have a trust issue in the law enforcement and military communities. In government speak, we call this an Insider Threat issue. It’s been confirmed many Capitol Police officers are under investigation for their actions during the attack on the Capitol. Many off-duty police officers were present and some have been arrested and/or fired for their participation. At least one military reservist has come under scrutiny and a lot of those who have been charged have military backgrounds. It is now being reported that the National Guard troops will be going through extra vetting in the hours prior to inauguration. This last minute vetting is a little disturbing, because it highlights the fact there isn’t a lot of vetting going on in the first place. Also, how thorough can the vetting be if it conducted on 25,000 troops in a matter of hours? We are simply talking about FBI name checks here that may pick up on criminal histories and watch lists and are unlikely to hit on most social media activities. So, will Biden and Harris even be safe?

I believe they will and this is why.

Yes, there will be tens of thousands of troops and officers in Washington, D.C. for inauguration. Not all will be in the protected zone. Of those in the protected zone, a vast, vast majority of those will never see Biden or Harris. Some may catch a glimpse of a passing limo, which is pretty much impenetrable. There seems to be misconception that Biden and Harris, and many other VIPs will be standing in the center of thousands of armed troops, any one of which could take a shot at any of them. This won’t happen. The Secret Service is really particular about who can be armed while near their high-level protectees. It is likely Biden, Harris, and many others will be spending little time in the open, will be seen behind ballistic glass, and if seen “exposed” then the only guns in the area will be those possessed by the Secret Service. Also, if there was some event that caused an evacuation to become necessary, then getting to the White House is no issue (it’s all within the zone) and there are ways to make sure the protectees are secure there (God, I hope you aren’t believing the movie Olympus Has Fallen).

This isn’t to say there isn’t risk involved for those involved in these operations and that softer targets around the nation are not at risk. Please be vigilant and do not hesitate to contact the authorities if you become aware of any extremist activities. In this environment, many individuals have felt emboldened and are not afraid to speak out about their criminal plans, so use that to save the lives of others by notifying the FBI or your local or state police. The people who wish to attack a rightfully elected government are not patriots, they are zealots. They are not supporters of law enforcement, they are enemies of democracy. True Americans encourage others to vote, they do not beat officers with American flags and then expect gratitude for their acts of insurrection.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, Bolt Action Remedy, Record Scratch, Forgiveness Dies, The Better of the Bad, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

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It’s 9:10 PM in the Chatham County Communications Center. The dispatchers stare at each other, afraid to move, afraid to breathe. One minute to go. Will tonight be the night? The clock on the wall changes. 9:11. A phone rings. The screens indicate the 9-1-1 call is coming from a blocked number. The dispatchers hope and pray it’s a coincidental call for service. Perhaps a car break-in or a bar fight. With all eyes on her, one dispatcher presses a button, puts the call on speaker for everyone to hear.

“Chatham 9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”

The distorted voice comes across the speaker. He gives the address. There will be a body at that location. That’s for certain. The killer dares the police to catch him and then, like before…he’s gone.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway and new P.I. Bethany Nolan are enlisted to look into the case of the 9-1-1 Killer and the investigation takes an unexpected turn when Galloway suggests the murderer may be a first responder. Galloway is pushed to the limit as he wonders if his hallucinations are returning and if members of a drug gang that want him dead have tracked him to Savannah, Georgia.

Galloway soon discovers he doesn’t trust the police. He doesn’t trust his client. He doesn’t even trust himself.


“J.J. Hensley has pulled off an incredible feat: The Better of the Bad is a real rush with a gripping mystery at its heart. The Trevor Galloway series gets bigger, badder, and more energetic with every book.” —Nick Kolakowski, author of Boise Longpig Hunting Club and Maxine Unleashes Doomsday


Upon being released after three years of incarceration in a psychiatric facility, former narcotics detective and unlicensed PI Trevor Galloway has no idea how to begin picking up the pieces of his shattered life. Having lost the woman he loved and exacting revenge upon those responsible, he is irreparably broken, heavily medicated, and unemployable.

When former Secret Service agent Nick Van Metre knocks on Trevor Galloway’s door, the last thing he expected was a job offer. However when the head of Metal Security hands Galloway a stack of photos and asks for his assistance with investigating a series of threats against a controversial presidential candidate, the former detective is stunned.

Galloway initially takes the case, but eventually has to question his own sanity after he reports an encounter with intruders who seem to have left no trace in his home. When Nick Van Metre turns up dead and an attack is carried out against Dennis Hackney, the former detective with a history of extreme violence becomes the focal point of multiple investigations.

Galloway pulls clues from photos and searches for answers while dodging bullets in Pittsburgh and Savannah.

Get set for a mystery told at a breakneck pace, with each of the chapters being linked to photograph in roll of film.

Look for the hints. Watch for the signs. Trevor Galloway doesn’t trust himself. Can you trust him?

The answers won’t be revealed until the final photo is flipped.


“Is someone setting Trevor Galloway up, or is his own mind deceiving him? Forgiveness Dies puts a uniquely fascinating protagonist–a detective who can’t trust his own perceptions–into a complex political thriller, and the result is propulsive. Hensley starts with a punch, and accelerates from there.” –Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Judgment and The Switch

“Inventive storytelling meets propulsive action in this wild thrill ride from J.J. Hensley, who brings real-life experiences to the page and delivers an authentic tale of double-crosses and dirty dealings. Don’t worry if you haven’t stepped into Trevor Galloway’s shadowy world yet…start right here, and you’ll soon want to read them all!” –Daniel Palmer, USA Today bestselling author of Stolen and Saving Meghan

“A snapshot of humanity in perfect focus. Edgy, furiously paced, raw. From the whip-smart dialogue to the deeply flawed characters, Hensley has a voice that will stay with you long after the final exposure.” –K.J. Howe, author of The Freedom Broker and Skyjack

Forgiveness Dies is a non-stop, gut churning thriller that you’ll read in one sitting. Hensley has conceived a brilliant but almost fatally flawed protagonist in Trevor Galloway, a man so tormented by his past that in the battle for truth and justice he’s forced to fight enemies that are dangerously real, and some that only real to him. J.J. Hensley is one of the best thriller writers out there, and he sits at the top of my must-read list.” –Mark Pryor, author of the Hugo Marston series

“With Trevor Galloway, the tortured, likable protagonist of J.J. Hensley’s Forgiveness Dies, Hensley has created a character destined to remain with the reader long after the last page is turned. Not only that, but readers will find themselves inextricably pulled into a tight plot that bears a brutally close, and necessary, resemblance to today’s America. Read this book, and you’ll want to read everything else Hensley has written.” –E.A. Aymar, author of The Unrepentant


“There are two types of men you must fear in this world: Men who have everything to lose—and men like me.”

It’s a case Trevor Galloway doesn’t want. It’s certainly a case he doesn’t need. The client—the sister of a murdered musician—seems a bit off. She expects Galloway to not only solve her brother’s homicide, but recover a vinyl record she believes could ruin his reputation. Galloway knows he should walk away. He should simply reach over the desk, give back the envelope of cash that he admittedly needs, and walk away. However, when the client closes the meeting by putting a gun under her chin and pulling the trigger, his sense of obligation drags him down a path he may not be ready to travel.

A story divided into twelve songs from Jimmy Spartan’s final album.


Record Scratch shocks you out of your ordinary groove. Sometimes witty, other times haunting, but when the needle jumps the track, the body count screams.” —Marc E. Fitch, author of Paradise Burns and Dirty Water

“In Record Scratch, Hensley, a former secret service agent, gifts us with a bounty of goods: a solid mystery, a damaged but relatable main character—one you root for, and swift plotting that weaves a compelling, compulsive tale of music and death and the demons carried by those in law enforcement. Bring me more Trevor!” —Shannon Kirk, international bestselling author of Method 15/33

“J.J. Hensley’s Record Scratch is a tersely written and tightly plotted gem, featuring one of the most unique protagonists around, Trevor Galloway, a man who has a way of getting himself into and out of trouble at an alarming rate. The book is action-packed with a dash of mordant wit, and I can’t wait to read more in this intense, engaging series.” —David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter

“J.J. Hensley’s tale of a stoic PI investigating the murder of a has-been rock star is equal parts classic whodunnit and gritty noir, peppered with high-octane action scenes that will leave you breathless. Record Scratch is like a throat punch: powerful, shocking, and unapologetic, but the surprising poignant ending will stay with you a long after you’ve finished the book. This is a thriller that crackles from the first page to the last.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts

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Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

Official Book Announcement and Cover Reveal – The Better of the Bad

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.


Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.


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