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Buffalo Police provide security details in advance of Trump visit

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

With a capacity crowd expected inside First Niagara Center - and the possibility of many protesters outside - Buffalo Police have announced some of the security measures for Monday's campaign rally in support of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The Republican candidate's rally is expected to draw the largest crowd among the candidates who have visited the Buffalo area over the past week. Given Trump's past controversial remarks and occasional violent incidents at his campaign events, the rally is also expected to attract opponents.


Local law enforcers say they'll be ready.

"We're going to have enough officers on hand to deal with that," said Buffalo Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo. "Working with First Niagara Center and Secret Service, we've developed queue lines to get people in and out of the event.

"We respect everybody's right to free speech and the right to protest but we will not tolerate any type of criminal activity on behalf of anybody."

Horus before Trump's rally, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., roads around First Niagara Center will be closed. 

"At this point we anticipate the street closings at 12:00 (noon) to be on Washington Street just south of the HarborCenter parking ramp," he said. "We anticipate Main Street being closed from Scott Street to South Park, South Park being closed from Perry to Illinois and Perry being closed from Main Street to Illinois Street."

Additionally, parking will be severely limited around the arena. The ramp adjacent to First Niagara Center will be closed. Lt. Rinaldo said some of the nearby surface parking lots may also be unavailable to the public.

People planning to attend the event were encouraged to help cut down on traffic congestion by using public transportation options. Lt. Rinaldo was asked if there were concerns about the prospect of Trump supporters and opponents sharing that transportation.

"We've worked with all of our partners that we've usually worked with, as well as additional federal resources on this," he said. "We're confident that we have a plan in place to address any situations that may arise."

Those interested in attending the event are encouraged to arrive early. Lt. Rinaldo anticipated doors at First Niagara Center would open at 4 p.m., but he added that Secret Service agents will be screening every visitor, resulting in the line moving slowly. 

"People will not be allowed to bring in any type of bags, backpacks, signs, banners, foods, beverages, or obviously weapons," Rinaldo said. 

According to police officials, food will be sold inside First Niagara Center with the exception of alcoholic beverages.

Trump is the last of the candidates who, as of Friday, planned a campaign visit to Buffalo. Republican rival Ted Cruz appeared at UB's North Campus for a recorded town hall formatted program that was broadcast Thursday evening by cable television network MSNBC. The Democrats came and went first. Bernie Sanders spoke to 8,000 people inside UB's Alumni Arena, as well as 3,000 outside that venue, on Monday night. Hillary Clinton appeared at a rally inside the Pierce Arrow Museum in downtown Buffalo late last week.

Republican candidate John Kasich appeared last weekend in Rochester but his campaign had no immediate plans for a Buffalo visit. 

Trump's rally comes on the eve of the New York Primary. No Democrat or Republican has secured enough delegates to clinch nomination. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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