And with those reports from the ground areas of the Washington Monument
, the Reflecting Pool
, the Lincoln Memorial
and other sites that we’ve mentioned the Ellipse, for instance between the White House and the Monument
where people from Washington
are meeting, we hope we have given you an idea of where our reporters are located so that we can bring you this live coverage of just what is transpiring in the Capitol of the nation today.
There are at least 8,000 law enforcement agents on hand today in Washington
to keep the peace. What they’re chiefly concerned with is the possibility of outsiders sparking a riot or a disturbance by heckling or name-calling or even physical violence. The District Commissioners are making themselves available every minute of the day in the District building. A special communications network has been set up to keep them in contact by radio and by telephone to their leaders and to leaders of the demonstrations. The ERN has a reporter located on the third floor of the police department where all of these efforts are being coordinated.
Let’s go now to Bill Price. I’m sorry, it’s Mike Price. There are a lot of law enforcement officers there. Metropolitan Police for instance has 1,900 uniformed men and 300 plain-clothes men on duty today. All leaves have been cancelled for all policemen. Five hundred police reserved men are on duty manning precinct stations and riding in squad cars near the Memorial and the Monument grounds. The District of Columbia Canine Corps, 75 man and dog teams are there standing by. In case of any trouble, they’re subject to quick call, and there are well-trained people in crowd controlling.
National Park police whose jurisdiction controls many of the areas that we’ve been reporting from so far, have 241 officers on duty helping to direct traffic on the federally policed highways and grounds. Their biggest problem is the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, of course, where people from the north and Philadelphia
, New York
, and all points north are trying to get into the city to participate in this March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Now, let’s go again to police headquarters.
It is realized that every member of the department will work many long and arduous hours of extra duty during the day of the rally without proper rest or relief. With this view in mind, the factors of patience, courtesy, tolerance, and consideration are brought to your attention. Members of the force in handling the many unusual circumstances that shall arise shall be patient, discrete and solicitous of the citizens of our own city as well as the multitude of visitors here during this rally.
Courtesy and consideration of the public as well as between ourselves and members of other departments assisting us is of the utmost importance. Innumerable questions will be asked and information sought from members of the department. Every reasonable effort shall be made to furnish the information requested and if found necessary, the inquirer shall be directed to the proper source where the information may be obtained. Many minor infractions of our regulations will be committed, particularly on the part of visitors and should be explained to the violators.
Arrests for minor infractions shall be held to an absolute minimum. We should bear in mind the fact that visitors and others coming in contact with the police frequently judge the entire department by the actions of one officer. The visitors will be from all sections of our country and the courtesy and assistance rendered by members of this department will cause them to take back home a lasting and favorable impression of their visit to the nation’s capitol.
Furthermore, it is just as important that we carry out our responsibility to the District of Columbia in such a manner that they will continue to hold in the highest esteem the Metropolitan Police Department, the District of Columbia National Guard, the District of Columbia Fire Department and the Reserve Police Corp. Next, a paragraph from Section 20, General Instructions. This is the most important occasion that the Metropolitan Police Department has ever faced in its long and distinguished history.
It is imperative that every man and every official do his utmost to see that these orders are carried to the end that when the rally is over and the participants have disbursed to their various homes in the cities and states, they may look back on this day with pleasure. And that there will linger in their hearts a genuine esteem for our department. This Michael Rice for the ERN at Washington Police Headquarters returning you to George Geesey.
Mike Price was reporting from police headquarters with some quotations from a 21-page report, Special Order Number 26 of Deputy Chief of Police Howard Covell to the Metropolitan Police Force. Mike has also phoned in some statistics so far this morning on the number of people arriving in this capitol city. Of course, expected are some 32 special trains, which will have the capacity to carry 26,000 people and some 880 buses, which will be able to carry 33,000 people into this Washington
city. So far, eleven of these special trains have arrived carrying about 7,000 people.
Traffic is light downtown. The total now expected by the police department is 82,917 by bus and by train. The problem, of course, is the people who are driving by private automobile. Most of these buses are being parked on the Ellipse or nearby or down Independence Avenue and in a special zone some ten blocks square set aside with restricted parking for buses only. We’ll be bringing you reports on how the number of people getting into Washington
progresses as we progress this morning with this live coverage from Washington on the March of Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The Washington Monument
, of course, is an ideal assembly area, and that’s why it was chosen this morning for these people to meet, to meet by state, by buses and to go together to get their placards and then be entertained as we’ll be bringing you this live entertainment by Hollywood stars from a stage, which is erected near 15th Street and Constitution Avenue. The stage, which faces a large vast grassland leading up to the Washington Monument
, which is on sort of a hill.
Down the other side of the hill on the south portion, we’ve already had reports from David Edwards where there is the Sylvan Theater. As these people assemble by 11:30 this morning, they’ll be moving out onto Constitution Avenue right by the press tent that we’ve had a report from and by the stage. They’ll be formed up by about 11:30 if everything goes on time, and then proceed about a mile down Constitution Avenue turning onto Henry Bacon Drive and approaching the Lincoln Memorial
Not everyone is expected to join in this march. Some people are going a southern route down Independence Avenue, and this will be led by prominent Negro women. We’ll be reporting on that, of course, from our vantage point down at the corner of Independence Avenue and 17th Street a report that we’ve already had from David Edwards. The people will then convene and meet in front of the Lincoln Memorial
where the official speeches and some entertainment will be held this afternoon.
We’ll be covering all of this for you and we hope that we’re able to pinpoint exactly where we are speaking from and where action is taking place. We’re leading now until 10 o’clock when the stage ceremonies of all of the Hollywood stars will take place. Washingtonians this morning have looked into their city with a little bit of ease this morning. Traffic was very light as one commuter has reported to us. Very few people are going to work. Government buildings are for the most part empty, and government parking lots are not nearly as full as they would be on a normal government working day.
buses are about half full, this reports, and they’re all running ahead of schedule. One bus driver said he wished that they’d have a march here every day. It makes things a lot easier for him. Well, the reason for this is that so many government workers are not going to work today at all. There’s a policeman or a National Guardsman at every corner of the downtown area to report back to the police headquarters that we just had a report from.
There’s a gray Red Cross bus flying a Red Cross flag, of course, dropping nurses off at their post along the parade route in specially set up Red Cross tents. We understand that Union Station is not as crowded as it might be expected to be on a normal day, although more trains, of course, are expected to arrive in a few hours. People who get off of these special trains then will board commuter buses set up by DC
Transit and will be carried to the corner of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue right near the assembly area on the Monument
And, we’ll have a lot of reports with these people from our location there at the stage area at the corner of 15th Street and Constitution. The Ellipse is between the White House and the Washington Monument
. It also is a large grass area and as we have had one report already from Al Hulsen, people form Washington
who want to parade for some reason or other are meeting there. And Al has another report for us right now. Let’s go to the Ellipse.