Presidential visit requires more than a limo
By GARY HARMON
Officials don’t want to go into details, but it’s become evident that getting a president to Grand Junction Regional Airport and from there to Central High School, is a detail-laden, manpower-intensive task.
It’s not one that people in the middle of planning it are eager to elaborate on.
But as experience with previous visits by high officials and candidates in Grand Junction and elsewhere has shown, there’s more to getting a president from Point A to B and back again than putting him in a limo and heading out.
It’s called a motorcade for a reason. A small one is about 10 vehicles, with everything from local police officers, Secret Service agents, ambulances, communications vehicles and a vehicle or more for traveling media.
The most recent vehicle to be used as the presidential limo is a heavily armored vehicle frequently called “Cadillac One,” and sometimes “The Beast.”
The car can seat seven people, including the president. Three rear-facing seats are in the back, with cushions that are able to fold over the partition. The two rear seats are reserved for the president and another passenger. Storage compartments in the interior panels of the car contain communications equipment. Two people ride in front.
Motorcycles form the advance guard and those officers, as seen last year with the visit of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, are the first to deal with any difficulties.
During Palin’s visit, two motorcycle officers laid down their cycles to make sure Palin’s entourage entered Suplizio Field.
Officials didn’t disclose the number of law enforcement officers expected to be on duty during the president’s visit, but Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras said the department’s regular duties will be covered even as officers are devoted to working the president’s visit.