Police chief: Security in D.C. will be tight
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The nation's capital will have a huge security presence for the state funeral services of former President Ronald Reagan.
Capitol Hill Police Chief Terrance Gainer said Wednesday morning that several organizations were working together and were ready for just about anything. Gainer spoke with CNN correspondent Elaine Quijano about the challenges presented by the services.
QUIJANO: You're here to survey the situation. Not too many folks in line right now. In fact, we see just two groups of people. But you are anticipating tens of thousands.
Talk to me about what precautions they're going to have to take here to accommodate all the people.
GAINER: Sure. Under a joint security network with the United States Park Police, the Secret Service, us, the Metropolitan Police Department, we'll be queuing people up along the Capitol reflecting pool and over into the park area of the other side of Third Street.
And we're going to give them a lot of advice about what not to bring in. When they ultimately get to about this point, it's one of our initial checkpoints where we'll tell them they can't bring the cameras and the coolers and the water and try to give them some sense, as they walk up Maryland Avenue towards the south drive of the west portion of the Capitol, where this will be taking place, that they're ultimately going to go through very strict scrutiny with our magnetometers, very similar that you'd go through at the airport.
QUIJANO: So people who are coming here should plan accordingly?
GAINER: They should. And they should also plan on how warm it's going to be today. We already have had heat advisories, and we're working with the medical community to have plenty of doctors and water on hand here. We've put up some [portable toilets] to try to make it more comfortable for people. But what we saw in California, sometimes the hours, it took about six hours to get in. So people need to be prepared for that.
We're trying to put up some tents and keep people under the shades of the park service area to make it more comfortable.
QUIJANO: Now, talk to me about what exactly will happen once they're inside. You said you're concerned, you want to make sure that people are given the time to pay their respects, but at the same time allow others to do so, as well.
GAINER: Right. Again, watching what went on at the [Lyndon] Johnson funeral, when we looked at the tapes of that, and then what's gone on in California, some people pause and say a silent prayer or salute. And that will really be a disservice to the others coming here.
We can clear, from a security perspective, about 5,000 people an hour. But we think it's going to take much longer if people dwell up in the Rotunda, at the casket.
So we're asking them silent memories, silent prayers and to move respectfully and slowly, to give all tens of thousands of people a chance to move through here.
QUIJANO: Any idea how many people total you might see through the Capitol Rotunda before the end of the week?
GAINER: Well, our initial estimate was probably somewhere under 100,000. But, again, given the California experience on this, we may be approaching 150,000 or 200,000. It's really hard to tell yet.
The fact that the federal government is going to liberal leave here, a lot of businesses are closing and that Friday is a holiday for the federal employees here may add to that number.
QUIJANO: And a logistical security challenge. Thousands of officers, obviously, are going to be involved in this effort. If you could, elaborate on that a little bit.
GAINER: Well, our department, the Metropolitan Police Department all canceled our days off so that we have a combined force of about 5,000. You join with the Park Police, the FBI, the Secret Service, ATF, you could have well over 3,000 or 4,000 officers on duty to try to make this a very, very secure event.
I should point out that there is no specific intelligence that this is targeted. But we're clearly -- the nation is worried about what terrorists may try to do during the summer. And obviously this is pretty attractive. For this arrival ceremony at six o'clock, this people's house will be filled with Congress, the Supreme Court, diplomats, former presidents. So it's a pretty attractive group.
But we're well rehearsed. We finished last night about 1:30 in the morning. So we think we're ready for anything.