The small town of Lynden, Washington was bustling on Saturday, May 7th, as thousands of people gathered to either show support or protest Donald Trump’s presidential rally.
Trump’s visit posed major security challenges for law enforcement agencies that were tasked with keeping things civil and people safe.
The United State Secret Service reached out to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office requesting protection for Trump. The Sheriff’s office then asked other local law enforcement agencies, including the Washington State Patrol, for assistance.
Prior to Trump’s arrival, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office advised attendees to heed tight security requirements such as leaving things like umbrellas and tripods at home. When it came to the day of the event, the Washington State Patrol proved ready…mobilizing rough 110 people in less than 24 hours. While logistical duties consisted of crowd control, venue security, and keeping Trump’s escort route clear, the State Patrol – and the other law enforcement agencies involved – were there to protect all groups and voices at the event.
Captain Scott McCoy from the Washington State Patrol’s Field Operations bureau assigned roughly 80 Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) Troopers to help with crowd control. In addition to the RDF, Lieutenant Michael Eggleston of the Investigative Assistance Division helped coordinate the WSP’s Special Operations movements from a unified command post, along with heads from the Secret Service, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Bellingham Police, Lynden Police, and other local law enforcement agencies. Eggleston tracked the footsteps of State Patrol teams providing vehicle convoy detail, those monitoring traffic and crowds, as well as a team providing surveillance security services. WSP explosive detection K9s and bomb technicians were also out patrolling the fairgrounds while – out of sight – an armored Special Operations vehicle was on stand-by.
Besides a few minor incidents, there were no threatening security concerns inside the fairgrounds. Lt. Eggleston says the Patrol provided solid security support; adding that even though it was a quiet afternoon, “the State Patrol’s success was based on our readiness presence.”