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Security planning underway for Trump visit to Fargo

President Donald Trump will hold a rally 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at Scheels Arena to support the U.S. Senate bid by Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Special to The Forum 1 / 3
Fargo Police Chief David Todd.2 / 3
U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer official photo3 / 3

FARGO — President Donald Trump's rally at Scheels Arena will be an all-hands-on-deck event for Fargo police and other law enforcement agencies, and security along the motorcade route will likely mean blocking off traffic to and from the airport when the president is on the move, Police Chief David Todd said Monday, June 18.

Todd has received a call from the Secret Service, but hasn't met with their representatives to finalize security details for Hector International Airport, Scheels Arena, and the motorcade route.

Trump will hold a rally 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the southwest Fargo arena to support the U.S. Senate bid by Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

Having handled presidential and vice presidential visits before, Todd said law enforcement is already working on airport and arena security.

He's also reached out for help.

"I've already had a little heads-up meeting with some of my fellow (police) chiefs and sheriffs to let them know that we'd be asking them for assistance. And they are ready to provide assistance and that also includes the Highway Patrol that will help us with the motorcade route and conduct the motorcade for us," Todd said.

Todd said the event will be "manpower intensive," because the president will be moving not to the North Dakota State University campus as has been done in the past, but several miles to the southwest part of the city.

"We will be adjusting schedules for our on-duty personnel to have as many people available to work this event as possible. It will be manpower intensive, both securing the airport and the (Scheels Arena) and shutting some of that motorcade route down will require quite a few people," Todd said.

Once the streets or highway sections the presidential motorcade will use are known, Todd said Fargo police will get word out to the public, so drivers can plan their travel on the June 27.

"Those roads that we'll be using will be very restricted and they'd (commuters) be better off going different routes if they want to avoid being stopped in traffic," Todd said.

In the past, "we've had to close off those roads while the motorcade goes through that route. After the motorcade has made its way through there, then we reopen the route," Todd said.

The logistics of getting cars into the arena's lots and people in and out of the Scheels Arena will have to be settled, Todd said. He urges people attending to get there early, lest they be stuck in traffic as the motorcade moves. Once the president is on the move, no one will be allowed to go through barricades. He also says it would be wise to leave purses and bags behind, as security at the arena will be tight.

"People should be prepared to go through fairly significant security," Todd said. "Come with that in mind. Don't carry things that won't allow you entry."

Todd said police will work with the Secret Service to design areas where people can protest. However, he warns that protesters won't be allowed to disrupt traffic.

"We will give them their areas to protest and understand they have those rights and we will protect them, but we will also be sure we have a security site for the president."

Plans will also be made to keep counter-protesters apart from protesters at the event, Todd said.

And while the length of the rally and the president's stay in Fargo isn't yet known, Todd said that once the event is done, drivers can expect renewed delays as the president is escorted back to the airport.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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