Visitors should plan for ‘very tight’ securityPublished 7:15pm Saturday, March 2, 2013
Lt. John Brock with the Selma Police Department went through this process 13 years ago when then President Bill Clinton made a historic visit to Selma for the 35th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
Now, Brock, the Selma Police Department, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, state law enforcement, federal law enforcement in working with the Secret Service, are preparing for another historic visit. This time, it’s the current Vice President of the United States.
When Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Dr. Jill Biden, and the dozens of other dignitaries set foot in Selma, they will do so under the blanket of protection of one of the largest law enforcement and security forces assembled in Selma.
“There will be very, very heavy, very tight security,” Brock said while standing in the midst of Saturday’s Jubilee festivities on Water Avenue. “There is an amazing force assembled, and we are ready for the vice president’s visit.”
Saturday, Brock joined representatives from other law enforcement agencies, reviewing their plans for Sunday’s events, particularly those that are scheduled to take place at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in downtown Selma. In doing so, Brock offered a piece of advice to those who have no plans to visit Jubilee Sunday.
“If you’re not coming to Jubilee Sunday, if you’re not coming to hear the vice president speak, then there is no reason to come any where near downtown Selma tomorrow,” Brock said. “No reason at all.”
As for those planning to head downtown, Brock said they should come prepared.
“Be prepared for long lines, long waits as we work everyone through the security checkpoints and metal detectors,” Brock said. “There will only be two access points to this area — only two.”
Once checkpoint will be located on Broad Street at Alabama Avenue. The other will be located on Water Avenue at Washington Street.
“It’s going to be cold, dress warmly and be prepared to wait,” Brock said. “Also, come early to make sure you make time for the screenings.”
The vendors and stages that normally take up a majority of Water Avenue on Sunday will not be there this time, as they will be relocated on Church Street and Lauderdale Street, north of Water Avenue.
Access over the Edmund Pettus Bridge is expected to be blocked beginning shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday morning and, according to Brock, will likely not be reopened until after 5 p.m. Sunday.