Law enforcement agencies from local to federal levels coordinated in Billings on Thursday to protect Donald Trump and the people at his rally.

The United States Secret Service worked with Billings Police, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol and Montana State University Billings police to provide security for the motorcade leaving the airport and the event at Rimrock Auto Arena.

There was a larger law enforcement presence Thursday than the Bernie Sanders and Bill Clinton speeches held earlier in May simply because of the larger scale of the Trump event, Sheriff Mike Linder said.

Linder said the Sheriff’s Office called in reserve deputies, deputies who normally would have the day off and deputies on more flexible assignments like school resource officers to boost the presence while maintaining normal coverage.

Despite the recent unrest at the Trump rally in Albuquerque, N.M., MetraPark was relatively quiet with no obvious protests taking place — but not because demonstrators were discouraged or removed.

“It’s not a problem for people who want to protest. There’s a place for that,” Linder said. “We’ll definitely recognize their right. The only thing we won’t tolerate is any kind of violence.”

Deputies were stationed outside of the empty designated protest area in the motorcycle parking area at MetraPark. Linder said deputies and officers posted up outside of the arena, along the motorcade route and at the airport before 10 a.m.

Trump’s plane was scheduled to land at about 3:15 p.m., and airport police would help secure the area around Edwards Jet Center upon the jet’s arrival, said Shane Ketterling, assistant director of Billings Logan International Airport.

Extra airport police are mainly provided to control traffic as the police cars and limos leave the airport. The same precautions were taken for Clinton and Sanders.

“Every election year we’ll have the VIPs show up, and we’ve done this many times over the years,” Ketterling said.

0
0
0
0
0

General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.