Chattanooga making preparations for presidential visit

Associated Press • Jul 27, 2013 at 7:47 PM

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Officials in Chattanooga are busy preparing to host President Barack Obama for the first time since he took office.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports security officials are working to plan his route Tuesday and how his security will be handled. Obama is set to travel to the Amazon fulfillment center in the city to give the first in a series of planned policy speeches.

“It’s a big deal for Chattanooga. ... We don’t get visits. Some cities he goes to a lot, and we just don’t get them,” said Donna Job, resident agent in charge at the U.S. Secret Service office in Chattanooga.

Job said several agencies will help with security arrangements.

“Obviously, we’re working with the police department, the sheriff’s department and the fire department. We depend on them a lot for help with this,” she said. “As a group, we try to meet citizens’ needs and security of the president all at the same time. We come up with a plan that we all feel comfortable with that serves both purposes.”

Sheriff Jim Hammond said his office’s dignitary protection unit, which was created a couple of years ago, will be involved in the plans.

“Our unit has been asked to assist the Secret Service. At what level or what role it will be is still being kept under wraps,” he said.

Secret Service staff members are working on how Obama will get to the Amazon Center. Job said the route would be disclosed to law enforcement right before the president’s arrival.

“We don’t have details,” said Chattanooga Police Traffic Sgt. David Gibb. “They don’t tell us until they get here. They only thing we do is cancel personal days and have everyone prepared.”

Job said she doesn’t expect motorists to be inconvenienced.

“There won’t be a point where I can imagine we would stop you from going any specific place. I mean other than for small periods of time. We try to make it impact people the least and balance that out with security,” she said.

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