Preparations for President Donald Trump’s visit for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement Ceremony next week are already underway.
Representatives from the City of New London are meeting with the secret service Thursday to finalize security plans for the May 17 visit.
"I'm excited," New London resident, Anne Hunziker, said about the president’s visit. "I think everybody gets excited when the president of the country comes to their city!"
U.S. & World
The streets of New London are buzzing about the president’s visit to deliver the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy.
"When you get the president in town, it's a pretty neat thing. So, coming to New London's a pretty neat thing. I think Trump, more than other presidents in the past, is going to attract more interest," Barry Neistat, owner of Muddy Waters Cafe, said.
The owner of the downtown New London restaurant is looking forward to the extra crowds.
"I think they'll be in town probably the day before or the day of,” Neistat said.
With an expected boost of people in the city, comes a boost in security, which means hefty overtime costs for New London Police.
"We're projecting it's going to be a large number turning out because of what we've seen around the country and the outcry that's going on with this president,” said Acting New London Police Chief Peter Reichard.
All 66 New London officers are asked to be on the clock for the president's visit.
"Because it's an event with the federal government, we don't get reimbursed for this,” Reichard said.
Groton, Waterford, Norwich, Stonington, East Lyme and state police officers are also lending a hand, Reichard said, adding the city can't sign off on any permit requests to rally or protest for the event, until they consult with the president's secret service.
The acting police chief is meeting with the secret service Thursday to shore up all the details.
Reichard also said to expect Deshon Street and Riverside Park to be blocked off for the entire event, including some of the streets leading into the park.
Additionally, the motorcade will temporarily shut down part of I-95 and Route 32 by the Coast Guard Academy.
City representatives said no matter the cost, the visit is an honor and they realize the responsibility.
"We are going to be prepared to provide protection for the President, the community, and for anyone who wants to come and support him, or anyone who wants to come and protest,” said Steven Fields, chief administrative officer for New London.