Local law enforcement prepares for Trump visit
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Police Department has been working closely with the United States Secret Service to ensure the safety of all during President Donald Trump’s visit to Bemidji on Friday, according to a press release from Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin on Monday.
President Trump will now be speaking at Bemidji Aviation Services at the airport at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18, doors open at 3 p.m. the campaign announced on Monday.
Mastin told the Pioneer he hopes everyone will avoid conflict in the name of public safety.
“With any political event we anticipate that there will be attendees who support the speaker and there will be attendees who do not,” Mastin said. “I hope that everyone can recognize there are different points of view and we can all be respectful and safe. Safety is our number one priority for all people that are attending this event. We want to make sure we have a good experience, that everyone is safe.”
The release stated there would be an increased law enforcement presence around the airport to ensure safety and traffic control.
During its meeting Monday night, the Bemidji City Council authorized a mutual aid agreement, allowing regional law enforcement agencies to assist the Bemidji Police Department in maintaining public safety during the president's visit.
“By far this is the largest scale event that we have had to plan for,” Mastin said of the presidential visit. “We plan for all events that we believe are going to draw large crowds, and this summer has been no exception. We try not to focus on the subject matter, because we are a neutral party, and we try to treat every group as fairly as we can.”
Bemidjians should expect traffic delays and very limited parking around the airport, the release said.
“We have not received any information from the organizer of this event regarding onsite or alternative offsite parking locations,” Mastin said.
The Secret Service has established a security zone that will encompass a large area of the properties between Bemidji Aviation and U.S. Hwy 2, which will restrict both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the release said. This security zone restricts the possession of all firearms, including valid permit to carry holders and off-duty licensed law enforcement officials. Anyone who attends the event with firearms will be denied admission under federal authority.
While the Trump campaign’s event announcement made no mention of requiring face masks, Mastin reminded residents in the release that, “Minnesota Governors order 20-81 requires face coverings and social distancing.”