Police chief on Trump rally: 'I have every hope that it will be a successful, safe event'

Police Chief Pete Kerns (Still from SBG video)

EUGENE, Ore. - Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is headed for the Lane Events Center on Friday evening.

So are his supporters.

And so are protesters.

"I have every hope that it will be a successful, safe event where people can express their views in an environment that's civil and open," Police Chief Pete Kerns.

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Eugene Police have been working with the Secret Service to devise a complex security plan for the event, including everything from bomb sniffing dogs to screening cars as they enter the parking lot.

"We do our best to ensure that there aren't any explosives or firearms in there, so there will be magnetometers that everyone will have to pass through," Kerns said.

While safety is a concern when any candidate comes to town, a visit from Trump requires special preparations.

"There's been some violence around their campaign visits, and so we've taken that into account," Kerns said. "We'll have a policing presence that is intended and designed to deter that kind of thing from happening."

Police are reaching out to any groups advertising planned protests in an effort to help keep the protests peaceful.

"Eugene has a culture of engaging in public discourse that is positive and constructive, and I'm positive that that can happen here," Kerns said, "but we're going to need everybody's help for that to occur."


During Presidential Election years, the city has had as many as five or six visits by candidates. As a city, we are responsible for providing a safe environment for any visitor to Eugene. Some visitors, due to their higher profiles, require a higher degree of security. And, we can't do this alone, it is the job of everyone in our community, not just the police, to provide a safe and respectful environment.

This year there have been some incidences of clashes between different groups during primary rallies in other parts of the country. That's not something we want Eugene to experience and we hope those who attend or are in the area during rallies will do their part to ensure civility defines our actions. We are a community that is well experienced with differences of opinion and our expectation is that this visit will occur without incident. However we want people to know that we will be vigilant in protecting the safety and wellbeing of all our community members.

With regard to security detail. We are not allowed to provide specifics because that would comprise safety of not only the visiting dignitary but bystanders, our staff and other agencies' staff. EPD works with Secret Service on security, using a model that has been developed over years of partnership.

The security detail does come with a significant cost because the plans and staffing is substantial, but the City has funds that can be made available to cover this.

With any candidate, every measure is taken to ensure the candidate is secure and safe. The Secret Service Staff determines the risk and security plan for the visit of any candidate. You will see significant security presence, traffic congestion, visible police, law enforcement and security agencies.

There will be Eugene Police, Lane County Sheriff's Office, Federal agencies, Eugene Springfield Fire, Eugene Emergency Management as well as mutual aid support by Oregon State Police, Portland Police Bureau, Springfield Police, and Eugene Springfield Fire EMS. We do ask that everyone cooperate to ensure an environment that allows for safety and for free speech. These are our community's values.

We have a liaison who is reaching out to identify groups planning to organize demonstrations to help them to prepare to have peaceful demonstrations.


Those attending are advised to plan ahead for the security screening practices that accompany any presidential candidate visit.

A good rule of thumb to follow: do not bring to the event any items that would not be allowed through screening at an airport checkpoint. To enter the event this Friday, spectators will walk through magnetometer screening similar to that at an airport. Do not bring weapons of any kind (including knives of any size), umbrellas, signs, banners, or tripods. Please limit personal items and do not bring large bags. Small bags such as purses are allowed but will be subject to search for security reasons. Cameras are allowed.

Open carry of firearms on Fairgrounds property is prohibited during the event.

Due to past security experience with the difficulty in storing and returning items that are not allowed through screening, there will be no storage area. Visitors are advised to leave items that won't clear screening at home, or to secure them in their cars prior to driving and parking at the event. At the request of organizers, please don't bring signs to the venue.


* Expect heavy traffic in Eugene, and specifically in the Fairgrounds area on Friday. Parking may be difficult if you are not in the main parking lot.

* Arrive early to allow plenty of time to get there, due to congestion.

* The Event Center parking is available in the main parking lot only. The south and eastern lots will be closed.

* General public access to the Fairgrounds is limited to eastbound traffic from 13th and Chambers or Polk.

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