Secret Service taps local policeLocal law enforcement officers got a first-hand look at what is needed to protect a vice-president.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Local law enforcement officers got a first-hand look at what is needed to protect a vice-president.
With counter-sniper teams, roadblocks and more, they ushered Joe Biden safely from the Duluth International Airport to Superior Middle School and back Friday, with one quick stop at the Red Mug Bake Shop.
“It’s a large operation for secret service; this is what they do,” said Superior Deputy Chief Matt Markon. “They rely on local law enforcement to help them.”
The police department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Department got word about the vice presidential visit barely a week before the event. By 10 a.m. Monday, five secret service agents were in Superior to work out the logistics.
“They were what you expect them to be — very professional, very on top of their game,” Markon said. “They knew what they needed, and were very appreciative of the help local law enforcement was able to give. And they understood the visit would be disruptive, both to the agencies and the public.
“We tried to keep traffic shutdown to a minimum,” said Lt. Chris Hoyt with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
As the motorcade wound down the hill from the Duluth airport, traffic halted on Miller Trunk Highway. To allow for better control; the procession of cars drove down East Second Street in Superior, than turned down 18th Avenue East and past the Mariner Mall to go to the middle school.
“We had an officer or cones at every possible point where you can access the roadway,” said Markon, who rode in one of the motorcade’s lead cars. Drivers were blocked from crossing or entering the streets as the motorcade passed.
Hoyt was stationed at the intersection of North 28th Street and Hammond Avenue.
“There weren’t too many mad people,” he said, and he got a great view of the motorcade, “which was pretty impressive.” He would have liked to get a closer look at one of the cars to tap on the glass and see how thick it was, but didn’t get a chance.
The police department contributed about 25 officers to the event. They included Emergency Response Team sharpshooters and investigators who traded their plainclothes in for uniforms to help with crowd control at the middle school. The estimated cost to the department was in excess of $1,500 for the event, Markon said, and those costs are borne by the city.
In addition, members of the Superior Fire Department, public works and Gold Cross Ambulance were tapped for the event.
“Every city department was probably included,” Markon said.
About a dozen officers from Wisconsin State Patrol helped out, Markon said. And 11 members of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department lent a hand.
“We had to use the detectives, myself and (Chief Deputy) Jerry Moe,” Hoyt said, but they only had to pull in two extra officers and kept overtime costs for the department down to about 10 hours.
The same kind of security was needed in Duluth. Members of the Duluth Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department, Hermantown Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol were tapped to provide security for the motorcade as well.
“In the end it comes down to ‘we’re all cops in one way, shape or form and we’re going to help each other out,” Markon said.
Both he and Hoyt were happy to get back to their regular workloads Monday.
“Quite a bit of time was dedicated to that,” Hoyt said.