City and University of Denver prepare to host presidential debate

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President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are not only bringing their political prowess, fiscal strategies and party paraphernalia to their first debate held at the University of Denver on Oct. 3 — they are also bringing a lot of secret service agents.

However, other agencies and organizations located in Denver are also preparing to provide security measures at all levels throughout the week of the debate.

“We will do whatever we can to help you pull off a very successful presidential debate here,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the University of Denver in a press statement released by the university.

“We know you’re ready to do it,” Mayor Hancock added, “but you have a partner in the city of Denver. We are awfully proud of you and we will, as a city, stand with you to showcase our great city to the rest of the world.”

One way the city will support the university is through the Denver Police Department. According to Detective John White, a police spokesman, the department will dedicate officers specifically to the event to assist the university’s Department of Campus Safety.

“We are working with campus security on a security plan for the event,” White said, although he could not give more information than what is already available. When more information is available, White explained it will not come through the Denver police, but rather, “Members of the media will be provided information by the university and/or the debate committee.”

Much of the available information regarding security measures is on the University of Denver’s debate website.

For those attending the event, the most conspicuous security measure will be a temporary fence around the Ritchie Center, the 440,000-square-ft. sports and activities center where the debate will be held.

In a letter to its neighbors, the university explained, “You will still be able to access the buildings, but do expect that there may be limited entry points. Signs will be posted that will help inform neighbors and visitors to our campus about accessibility.”

Beginning on Monday, Oct. 1, the university will close several parts of campus, including Buchtel Boulevard and Asbury Avenue from University Boulevard to High Street. These streets will be reopened on Oct. 4.

Except for a few buildings dedicated to the debate, such as the Ritchie Center, the entire campus will be closed on Oct. 3.

Visible photo IDs, temporary parking passes, printed registration receipts and detailed attendee lists will also help with security throughout the event.

For more information, visit the University of Denver’s debate website.

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