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Extra security for Obama rally

By Brittney Schmies

Oct. 11, 2012

On Oct. 5 President Obama rallied at Cleveland State’s Krenzler Field. The security and planning for the event began days before.
obama security
Joe Mosbrook, director of strategic communication, said Cleveland State found out about the President’s appearance a week before. Matters of security began soon after.

From the outside, students couldn’t tell anything was going on. There weren’t men in black suits with ear pieces walking around campus talking into their sleeves in code. Everything was normal, as if the President wasn’t coming. In reality, the Secret Service was sweeping and surveying the area.

“The Secret Service takes over security and Cleveland State Police and Cleveland Police assist them as needed,” said Mosbrook.

Students were made aware of security measures that would affect them firsthand. Parking Services sent out campus emails informing students, faculty and staff of street closures, parking issues and altered bus routes. A few days later they sent out a finalized update with more closures.

The roads surrounding Krenzler Field were closed from early Friday morning until late Friday night. East 18th Street, Payne Avenue and Chester Avenue were blocked off. Chester Avenue was only open to westbound traffic to allow for parking. Parking restrictions, according to the Cleveland State hangtag system, were temporarily lifted for the day and either color tag could facilitate any lot that was open, and the Viking Loop did not run at all.

According to a press release from the Obama-Biden campaign, media equipment and trucks were on the grounds between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., trucks were subject to be screened during this time. Sweeps of the grounds occurred between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Those attending the rally had to pass through security before they could enter the field. Items such as umbrellas, book bags and water bottles were not allowed into the event. However, cameras, wallets keys and phones could be brought in.

“They had it set up like airport security before you got in you had to pass through [the security check], and they did random checks where they would pat you down,” said Mitchell Mielcarek, a Communication Management student.

SWAT members were posted on top of buildings around Krenzler Field, where they kept watch with binoculars on what was going on bellow them.

Students and faculty who had began to congregate on top of parking garages, such as Central Garage, to watch the event were asked by the security to move from these spots as it was seen as a potential security risk.

Road closures, a mixed up parking system, no Viking Loop and standing in the rain with no umbrella can all add up to a major inconvenience — and it did, but the students, faculty and staff of Cleveland State, for the most part, found it easily forgiven.

“Absolutely, everything was understandable,” Mielcarek said. “The president of the United States was here.”