Security Challenges For Obama Visit

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

East Lansing (WILX)--As anyone who drove on US- 127 early Friday afternoon knows, security was extremely tight. There was at least one state trooper parked in just about every median crossover between I-69 and Jolly road.

This also created challenges for the spartans, with roads closed and parts of campus blocked-off.

There were bomb sniffing dogs checking vehicles, a helicopter patrolling from overhead, and everyone got a pat down before entering the building for the event

"You can definitely tell something's happening," said Anthony Benning, MSU Senior.

No one could get close without having an invitation. Law enforcement, secret service, and volunteers were all working together to make sure everyone was checked.

Benning was one of the many MSU students that didn't get an invitation, but that didn't stop him from trying.

"We were asked if we had a ticket a couple times and if we didn't then we were told to turn around," said Benning.

He ended up waiting outside to see President Obama arrive. Luckily for him only the streets, not the sidewalks were closed down a half hour before the motorcade came rolling through.

"That was really cool. It was a good experience to see him and he waved to us. It was awesome," said Brittany Burns, MSU freshman.

"It's very different to meet the leader of the USA and it's very exciting," said Chang Luo, MSU student from China.

Getting the president safely to the event and back to airport was a challenge in itself for security.

"You have to close down the freeway, which takes a lot of personnel. We probably had 40 police cars along the motorcade route to make sure the president was safe," said Major Joel Maatman, with the Ingham County Sheriffs Department.

In the end they say everything ran smoothly.

"He came here and gave a great speech. Then he left, safely."

President Obama got back to Washington D.C. with no incident Friday evening.


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