Secret Service will oversee debate security

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Who will oversee security at the vice presidential debate next year?

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Longwood University and Farmville will see an increased police presence on the university’s main campus on the day of the vice presidential debate and on the days immediately surrounding the event next year.

According to Justin Pope, Longwood’s chief of staff to the president, “The U.S. Secret Service will oversee security operations for the vice presidential debate, working closely with campus and town police and other law enforcement in a supporting role.”

“We will not know precisely what security arrangements will be in place for some time,” he said. “and of course, for obvious reasons, will not be able to discuss all details publicly. We do expect the most substantial impact by far will be on the Longwood central campus, and limited to the few days immediately surrounding the debate.”

“Once we determine the full detail and scope of the event, we will put a plan in place and determine our needs,” said Farmville Police Chief Curtis Davis. “We will work closely with Secret Service in developing a security plan and sharing resources.”

He said the department has already held initial meeting with the Secret Service about the event. “Obviously in any event such as this there will be restricted areas but it is far too early to know those details at this moment. We will figure those things out as the planning progresses. The [department] will have many responsibilities during this event and the days leading up to it.”

He said the most important role Farmville Police will play will be working in partnership with police from Longwood, Prince Edward, the Secret Service and other agencies “to provide the safest environment possible for our citizens and the overall event.”

In 2012, Centre College in Danville, Ky. hosted the vice presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

Michael Strysick, the director of communications at Centre College, which hosted the past two Vice Presidential Debates, said security measures were a collective effort between the U.S. Secret Service, state and local law enforcement and the college’s department of public safety.

“Cooperation among all involved contributed to a safe event at Centre College, and we can’t express our gratitude enough to the men and women who made our debate safe and uneventful. I think we all gained a new respect for those who protect and serve because of the high level of professionalism we saw at every turn,” he said.

Strysick also said that security measures at Centre College involved concrete barriers and chain-link fencing, a welcomed addition in a post-9/11 world.

“The debate will be a substantial event, primarily affecting campus but inevitably to some extent the town of Farmville and broader region, particularly on the day it takes place,” stated Longwood’s debate website.

Longwood University will host the debate on Oct. 4, 2016.