Officials: Local law enforcement prepared for security demands
JANESVILLE The debate raged for months.
Would Romney pick Ryan? Would Ryan say, “Yes?”
While media professionals and political analysts were talking, tweeting and belaboring the subject, Janesville Police Department personnel were training.
“We’ve been preparing for this for over a year,” Police Chief Dave Moore said Saturday morning about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s choice of Janesville native Paul Ryan as his running mate.
By Saturday afternoon, U.S. Secret Service and Janesville police officials were meeting to review security plans for Ryan and his family, Moore said. In the years since Ryan was elected to the House, Janesville police typically worked with his staff to organize security, Moore said.
Although Ryan’s profile has changed, working with the Secret Service is nothing new, Moore said. Janesville police in 2011 met with Secret Service representatives specifically to prepare for the possibility of Ryan rising from representative to vice presidential candidate.
“We knew that Wisconsin was going to be significant in the presidential race. We know we have a very high-profile politician in town,” Moore said of Ryan. “He was always on the radar.”
The Janesville Police Department already has action plans in place for potential emergencies at Ryan’s Janesville home, as well as at popular public forums around the city, Moore said.
Secret Service agents have trained Janesville police detectives and SWAT members in methods of dignitary protection “so we can work side by side,” Moore said.
Administrative and supervisory staff members also have been trained in dignitary protection, Moore said.
The other piece of the security puzzle is crowd control. It’s something local law enforcement agencies have had practice covering together, Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said.
At the Janesville department’s urging, officers and deputies from the Beloit Police Department and Rock County Sheriff’s Office joined to create a highly trained, 45-person crowd-control team, Moore said. In addition, every Janesville police officer is trained and equipped for crowd control, Moore said.
Local law enforcement agents have had practice covering Janesville visits by national politicians, including former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, Spoden said.
Secret Service agents usually focus on protecting individuals, while local agencies work on securing crowds and travel routes, Spoden said.
“Secret Service is very clear that they rely heavily on local law enforcement agencies for help,” Spoden said. “They just don’t have the manpower.”
Janesville police are ready for the job, Moore said.
“We’re good to go.”