No secret service, but security still prevails

No+secret+service%2C+but+security+still+prevails

Christine Hoffmann | Contributing Writer

As Lindenwood prepared for the visit of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, the security department worked behind the scenes to make sure everything would go according to plan.

Ron Paul spoke at 3 p.m. today. The doors to the Hyland Arena opened to Lindenwood students at 2 p.m. and general admittance began at 2:20 p.m.

With the event open to the public, and Ron Paul being such a prominent figure, Director of Security Kurt Smith said he expected a large crowd.

“Parking will be limited, especially with students still being here,” Smith said. “The biggest challenge [was] making sure the guests [could] come in safely and find a place to park.”

Smith said he worked with Lindenwood Student Government [LSGA] President Dan Bedell to find volunteers who were willing to help direct traffic. In addition to student volunteers, St. Charles police officers were on the scene.

“Lindenwood has hired six off-duty officers to coordinate with their personnel,” said Lieutenant David Senter of the St. Charles police department.

Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate without Secret Service protection. Republican Newt Gingrich just recently acquired protection on Wednesday. According to secretservice.gov, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is responsible for determining what candidates receive Secret Service.

She must consult with an advisory committee made up of the speaker of the house, the house majority whip, the senate majority leader, the senate minority leader, and one additional member chosen by the committee.

The committee has not declared Ron Paul a “major candidate.” This decision could possibly be a result of Ron Paul’s not winning any state primaries in 2012.

LU security and the St. Charles police department had plans in place to ensure a safe environment. Officers were standing by at the entrances to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

“We’re making sure [Congressman] Paul can get in safely and get out afterward,” Smith said.

The political system can cause heated debates, and the arrival of a controversial politician can sometimes draw protestors to the scene. Smith said he didn’t expect any to come out, but still prepared just in case.

“Ideally we would find a staging area for them away from the entrances where they don’t interfere with anything, but are still … able to exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said.

The policy was to escort anyone being disruptive during the speech out of the building.

The Congressman’s arrival drew people from the area as well as attracted the attention of the media. Smith said the security team and volunteers will kept things running smoothly.

“We [had] plenty of people to get everything coordinated,” he said.