How FNL handles dignitaries

  Jeneal McKinleyOct 30, 2016  

I sat down with Jason Licon this month and asked him what it was like when he got the call that Mr. Trump would be coming in.

He very calmly explained he didn’t receive “a call”. He said there is a county wide system for when dignitaries and the like fly in. Usually the visit is venue specific with the Budweiser Event Center, Larimer County Fairgrounds, Moby Arena or CSU being the ones to get a call to inquire about availability. Once the venue has been confirmed the advance team for the dignitary will start including a lot of the emergency services personal on planning the event.

Secret Service, in this instance, provided the lead on safety and security with the local law enforcement agencies providing support. Colorado State Patrol, Fort Collins and Loveland Police Departments as well as Larimer County, Thompson Valley EMS and Loveland Fire and Rescue Authority were included. Each agency is an expert in their field. Then it was just a matter of figuring out who would handle the motorcade, who has traffic control, who has perimeter security and so on.

Situations like this create a lot of interest; therefore, it creates a lot of additional tasks for the agencies involved.

Line of sight is a big issue for Secret Service and since they had limited staff and were unable to stand shoulder to shoulder, it was arranged by local SWAT to bring out public works trucks to provide a line of security. That is when Jason put his foot down.

“No. I don’t want trash trucks on my ramp.” He said. “It’s gonna look terrible and stink.” So he asked Green Ride if they would be able to park their buses on the ramp and they were more than happy to do so. He then filled in the holes with available trucks.

Jason has been airport manager for about 5 ½ years and has been through a visit from Obama and a couple of times with Paul Ryan so this stop was a well-oiled machine.

The airport staff had about a fifteen minute ramp stop, meaning all ground personal remained where they were until Mr. Trump exited his plane and the motorcade left the airport, but everything else was business as usual with no other impact to airport operations.

I think, after talking to Jason, our airport is in very capable hands.