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University to pay for added security

Jenn Metz | Wednesday, April 29, 2009

President Barack Obama’s pending trip to South Bend for the May 17 Commencement ceremonies has raised many questions. One of them: Who will pick up the bill?

South Bend Police Department spokesperson Captain Phil Trent initially said the department would incur some overtime expenses for added security, however the numbers weren’t determined at that point, as Obama’s itinerary was not announced.

And although it hasn’t been announced if Obama will extend his stay overnight, Trent told WSBT last month that the last time a president stayed overnight in South Bend, it cost the city almost $20,000 in overtime costs.

But this time around, whatever the cost, the city won’t be picking up the tab for extra security incurred by Obama’s visit.

According to a Friday WNDU report, a bill was proposed by members of the South Bend Common Council that would charge event hosts – in this case, Notre Dame – for the extra police necessary for security earlier this month.

The proposal was tabled, however, at an April 23 meeting. City officials said the University agreed pay for the necessary police protection during Commencement weekend.

SBPD will work with the United States Secret Service, St. Joseph County Police, Indiana State Police and Notre Dame to coordinate security for the president, including a motorcade.

Since Obama is not the first president to visit South Bend, Trent told The Observer some security guides are already in place.

If Obama follows a similar pattern that President George W. Bush did when he spoke at the 2001 Commencement, Trent said, “there’s already a traffic and security package that can be dusted off and revamped a little bit.”