Secret Service, others tight-lipped about Fox security
UHP to escort the Mexican chief; S.L. police to block roads
Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press
Security is expected to be tight when Mexican President Vicente Fox visits Utah today.
So tight that those in charge of security can't even talk about it.
"We're protecting him. I can't get into any more detail than that," said Glenn Passey, resident agent-in-charge of the U.S. Secret Service office in Salt Lake City.
Fox is expected to arrive at the Salt Lake City International Airport about 12:30 p.m. There will be no interruption to other flights at the airport, airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann said.
A police motorcade provided by the Utah Highway Patrol will escort Fox once he is on the ground. Salt Lake City police will help block streets as the motorcade passes through the city.
Salt Lake City police have had experience blocking streets and escorting motorcades for other dignitaries. President George W. Bush visited for three hours in 2005 and nine hours in 2002.
But like today's visit by Fox, security for those events was coordinated through the Secret Service. Salt Lake City police's involvement for such events "really depends on what the Secret Service asks," Salt Lake City police detective Joe Cyr said.
Former Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird, who was the department's public information officer during Bush's visits, said a visit by any head of state requires a lot of police resources.
A multitude of agencies work together for any such visit, Baird said.
"It's an honor when we can welcome people from around the world," Baird said.
Fox will visit the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City tonight. The event is not open to the public.
"We'll have a number of officers there, his own private security and officers from the Secret Service," West Valley Police Capt. Tom McLachlan said.
Even those who have an invitation to the event will be screened at the parking lot entrance and then again once they reach the front door, he said. Officers will be stationed around the perimeter of the building as well as inside.
Sylvia Haro is coordinating Fox's scheduled address to some 600 grass-roots community advocates at the Cultural Center. She said there will be a total of five security checkpoints.
The building will be locked down at 4:45 p.m. for the event, which starts at 5:30 p.m..
"It's just making sure people who have been invited are the ones who attend," she said.
Salt Lake Mexican Consul Salvador Jimenez said, "We are receiving the best cooperation of every authority here."
The president will travel with his own security, which is coordinating with U.S. Secret Service, along with about 22 Mexican authorities, including federal officials, governors, legislators and businessmen, Jimenez said.
For West Valley police, Fox's visit will be very short.
"This event for us will last four or five hours. Quick in and out," McLachlan said.
As far as McLachlan can remember, Fox's visit marks the highest-ranking foreign dignitary to visit West Valley City. He believed the mayor of Taiwan visited once, but he said preparing for that event did not compare to Fox's visit.
"We are honored he would consider the Cultural Center an important stop on his tour," he said.The Secret Service will also handle security at a scheduled dinner at the Governor's Mansion tonight.
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