Security Ready For Vice President's Visit

Friday, May 2nd 2008, 1:47 pm
By: News 9

Vice President Dick Cheney will be in Tulsa on Friday. He'll be the speaker at the Oklahoma Republican Party's convention at a downtown hotel. The Tulsa Police Department will play a large role in helping protect the vice president and has been coordinating its plan with the Secret Service for days.

News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports Tulsa's Special Operations Team is making sure every possibility is covered when it comes to dignitary protection at this level.

They say it's so manpower intensive that they couldn't do it without the help of OHP, Tulsa County and Broken Arrow police.

Sergeant Mike Eckert and many others are mapping out strategies, staffing the route and planning for contingencies.

"The three main elements in dignitary protection are airport security, motorcade, to and from the location and the location itself," said Sergeant Eckert.

Tulsa's swat team will have one team leader assigned to each area. The motorcade requires the most manpower, even though it's only from Tulsa International Airport to downtown and back again.

"The job begins as soon as we're notified. The job ends when the wheels come up off the ground, when they're in the air," said Sergeant Eckert.

The circle of protection works something like this, secret service has immediate responsibility for the vice president, the next layer of protection is Tulsa's SWAT team and the layer after that is patrol officers from TPD and other agencies.

Just like Cheney's visit last year, the entire SWAT team will be on duty, including snipers, tactical squads and negotiators.

They've done this for years and have even done some training with the secret service in Washington D.C. They don't want anything to go wrong on their watch.

"In this case, with the vice president coming to town, we could make world news if something bad happens, so we're doing everything we can within our power to make sure it doesn't happen and in the event, something does happen, we want to be prepared to react to it," said Sergeant Eckert.

Cheney will arrive at the airport at 4:25 Friday afternoon and will head straight to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown for a $1,000 a plate reception and dinner.

The dinner alone is $100 a head.

The vice president plans to be wheels-up at the airport at 6:50 p.m. and that's when Tulsa's officers can relax for the first time in days.

For more information about Cheney's visit, click here.