Amped up patrols and "a lot" of planning by local law enforcement agencies helped President Donald Trump's visit to North Dakota Wednesday go off without a hitch.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” said Deputy Chief Dave Draovitch, of the Bismarck Police Department. “There were no arrests, our president was never in danger and, overall, the people were really good. It was a very good day for everybody.”
“Overall, I think everything went really really well," said Lt. Patrick Haug, of the Mandan Police Department. "There were no arrests on our side of the river and, for an event like this, that’s a good day."
Bismarck and Mandan police departments worked with the Secret Service to devise a security plan to protect not only the president, but everyone involved, from bystanders to protesters to members of law enforcement.
“We plan for the worst and always hope for the best," Haug said. "We knew there was the potential for protests."
Planning for the worst means staffing accordingly. Twenty-four Mandan Police Department officers were on active duty during the dayshift Wednesday, up from the three to six officers clocked in on a "normal" day.
The department also requested mutual aid, which brought in 15 officers each from Cass County and the Fargo Police Department.
"We ended up not using them, but they were nearby," Haug said.
The Bismarck Police Department upped its staff, as well, with a total of 47 employees on active duty during Trump's visit. That number includes SWAT team members put in place to protect the president and members of special teams.
The department employs as few as seven and as many as 20 to work active duty on a typical day.
"Our regular shift was not impacted at all by the president's visit," Draovitch said. "They were able to perform their normal duties."
Other agencies involved were the Burleigh and Morton County sheriff's departments, the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Central Communications, Bismarck and Mandan fire departments and ambulance personnel, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and other state agencies.
"If there ended up being some kind of medical emergency, the fire department and ambulance were right there. They were two very important groups," Draovitch said. "And Central Communications was key to all of this, taking care of the daily calls in addition to all of the extra radio traffic."
Haug said he couldn't speculate on Mandan's total cost of security for the event.
"There was an agreement made with Cass County and the Fargo Police," Haug said. "I’m sure we’ll be covering some of their costs."
Draovitch said the Bismarck Police Department did not acquire any costs in addition to normal day-to-day operations.
"It was a scheduled event, so our officers made adjustments to their hours worked," he said. "Of course, there's always a chance an officer received a little overtime if he or she was unable to adjust their schedule."
The Secret Service, working alongside local law enforcement, devised the presidential motorcade route, which took Trump over the Bismarck Expressway Bridge. Haug said he knew of at least one secondary route, but very few details were provided.
“If there’s a bad crash blocking traffic along the main route, there has to be another way out," he said.
Protests remained peaceful, with minor traffic congestion being the event's only hiccup.
"There was some backed up traffic during the motorcade, but we got people going again," Haug said.
“It couldn’t have gone any smoother,” Draovitch said. "The people were outstanding. If it wasn’t for their cooperation, we couldn’t have pulled off an event like this."
"It was a lot of work, but it was awesome to have a sitting president visit our city," Haug said.