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Columbia Missourian

Police to help with Biden security

By ELIZABETH LUCAS
September 8, 2008 | 7:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Some intersections will be shut down Tuesday morning during a visit by Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, who is scheduled to speak in a town hall meeting at 9:30 a.m. in Columbia's Activity and Recreation Center.

Biden is scheduled to arrive at Columbia Regional Airport at an undisclosed time Tuesday morning. Sgt. John Worden of the Columbia Police Department wouldn't disclose the route Biden's motorcade will take from the airport to the ARC, located at 1701 Ash St. Worden didn't know how many cars will be in the motorcade, but citizens can expect intersections along the unknown route to close down while it passes.

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Security at the ARC will be provided by Columbia police in cooperation with Biden's campaign and the Secret Service, Worden said. Worden said he couldn't comment on what kind of security attendees could expect at the entrance to the ARC nor what kind of items they might be prohibited from bringing inside.

"We're still actually working on the final details of that with the Secret Service," Worden said Monday afternoon.

Columbia police were alerted last Friday that Biden might be coming to Columbia, but nothing was finalized until over the weekend - a normal occurrence during the campaign season, Worden said.

"If we can get three or four days' (notice), we feel pretty good about it," Worden said.

The town hall meeting will be held in the gymnasium of the ARC, desk clerk Adam Smith said. Smith, who works at the front desk of the ARC, said that 1,500 tickets were given out and that preparations for the gym were under way.

The weight room and the pool area will remain open during the event tomorrow morning, Smith said.