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Secret Service busy with Colorado visits

Posted: 12:21 AM, Apr 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-08 12:00:44Z

Visits by presidential candidates and the Vice President are keeping the Secret Service busy all week in Colorado.

The U.S. Secret Service has covered events just about every day this week. President Bill Clinton was in Wyoming on a campaign visit on Monday. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was there on Tuesday and Wednesday. Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton stopped at the Gov. John Hickenlooper's Park Hill residence for a fundraiser on Thursday night. Vice President Joe Biden will be in Boulder for a public event on Friday afternoon and then a private fundraiser with Sen. Michael Bennet. Republican candidate Ted Cruz will be in Colorado Springs at the State GOP Convention on Saturday afternoon.

"In a perfect world, we usually have about a week's time to put a domestic visit together. We understand that that's not always a possibility, be it a campaign site or a national emergency, so the Secret Service, we're good at that. That is what we train for. That is what we plan for," said Special Agent In Charge Kerry O'Grady. "We stand up teams a year in advance that can leap frog and deal with those visits that may occur in a state at multiple locations, all in the same time frame."

 

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The week's planning also included three potential stops for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Late last week, law enforcement were notified that Trump may visit Colorado Springs on Thursday, leave Colorado, possibly return for a Denver event on Friday, leave again and then come back for the State GOP Convention in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Trump would not make any of those appearances.

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"We understand that some of these visits can turned on and off rather quickly. It's part of the campaign cycle. We plan for that a year in advance, at least. This office reaches out to our local partners and we train for it," said O'Grady. "I have to give a shoutout to all the local partnerships because we couldn't do our job without their professionalism."

The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the candidate and making sure the venue is protected and has multiple escape routes. They also control the security lines. Local law enforcement is responsible for keeping the public safe.

Without Trump's visit, there is less concern of outside interference at the campaign visits.

"The Secret Service is committed to ensuring that the general public can exercise their First Amendment rights. We do not remove anyone from a rally just for doing that. The campaign staff, when they rent a venue, they have the right as a private renter of that facility to invite or uninvited anyone who's attending," said O'Grady. "Any type of event that's going to bring media or public notice certainly could be something that brings heightened law enforcement concern."