Burlington braces for Obama visit - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington braces for Obama visit

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Fans of President Barack Obama are counting down to his visit to Vermont on Friday.

But Preparing for a presidential visit is both an honor and a top secret headache for local law enforcement.

"Many details we can't share just because of the security risk. Many we don't know. Events like this really evolve up until the last minute," said South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple.

The South Burlington police are working with the U.S. Secret Service to ensure President Obama's visit Friday runs smoothly. Although the chief could not confirm the logistics, it's expected that the president will fly into Burlington International Airport before making his way to the Sheraton Hotel and the University of Vermont.

The last time a president visited Vermont it was 1995. Air Force One landed, President Clinton emerged and the Queen City went into a frenzy. Crowds, protestors and security checkpoints. Nothing was normal, including the president's roundabout route from the airport to downtown Burlington.

On Friday, President Obama's team is also likely to keep folks guessing. The logical route for his motorcade would be down Williston Road, potentially impacting streets like Spear, East Avenue and sections of Interstate 89. But police say commuters in South Burlington should be prepared for anything.

"Plan ahead. Don't go if you don't have to. If you do have to, plan to get around and if you can't get around then certainly allow yourself extra time to get to or through that area," Chief Whipple said.

Whatever the route, what's clear is that security will be elevated. Police officers are expected to be stationed at every intersection along the route -- a special detail that's going to require dozens of officers from surrounding towns.

Reporter Jennifer Reading: Who pays for that overtime or detail work in this situation?

Chief Trevor Whipple: Well at this point it appears to be community borne... we'll unfortunately have to work some of those details out after the fact.

Police say they'll do their best to balance community needs, costs and the safety of the United States' top priority.

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