MANCHESTER, NH — Police, working with the Secret Service, are preparing for President Trump’s Keep America Great Rally next Thursday at the SNHU Arena.
“We are working very closely with the Secret Service,” said Assistant Chief Ryan Grant. He said police know there will be road closures in the area near the arena and the highway. Pedestrian movement during the rally will be limited.
“Our number-one priority is to make sure this is a safe event for everybody — the supporters and the protesters,” he said. “We are going to do everything we can to ensure the safety of the public and our community.”
⇒Follow-up story: Trump rally at SNHU Arena, and putting a price tag on city’s security
He said at this point police do not know how many people to expect but are anticipating that the 10,000 seat arena will be filled to capacity.
The number-one question being asked, he said, is how much the security will cost the city.
Grant said that won’t be known until days or weeks after the event. He explained that the department’s policy has always been that the President or anyone who has Secret Service assigned to them is provided police security, if needed, at no cost.
The same will hold true for Trump’s visit, he said.
Grant said the department has an overtime budget to deal with events during the First-in-the-Nation Primary season.
“So we feel we are in a good place to deal with it,” he said.
Ryan Mahoney, Chief of Staff for Mayor Joyce Craig, said the office “was just as surprised as everyone else when the President announced a campaign rally at the SNHU Arena. Our office has not been contacted by the President’s team. We are not coordinating with the President’s team for this visit and this trip is not associated with our office.”
Concern for the cost of the President’s visit has been raised, given some cities where Trump has held rallies are still waiting for payment. Among those is El Paso, TX, which is owed more than $500,000, according to several published reports, includng Forbes.
Manchester Ink Link was unable to reach anyone at the arena to learn if the facility asked for payment upfront.
“The management agreement that the city has with SMG for the SNHU Arena gives SMG the sole right to determine who rents the SNHU Arena — the city has no ability to override a scheduling or booking made at the arena by SMG, “ Mahoney said.
Grant said pedestrians and motorists not attending the rally may want to avoid the area next Thursday. The rally is to begin at 7 p.m. More details are expected as the date nears.
Grant also urged the public to call police immediately if they become aware of any “people we should be concerned about for security.”