Former Secret Service agent desribes what it takes to protect the Vice President

Pence's visit required heavy security

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - People are still talking about Vice President Mike Pence's stop in West Michigan on Tuesday, and the heavy security that came along with the visit.

In the days leading up to the visit, neither Grandville city leaders, nor the White House would confirm he was coming. Experts said that's part of a strategy intended to keep him safe, a strategy that also called for lots of Secret Service agents, local police, and electronic counter measures. 

"When you have a parade route where the route is known, the more secret you can keep it the better you can keep it because somebody that wanted to attack you, wouldn't have time to set something up," Jason Russell said.

Russell is a former U.S. Secret Service agent. He's now the c-e-o of secure education consultants.

"All of our current consultants are former U.S. Secret Service agents, mostly management level agents," Russell said.

Russell said Secret Service agents probably came to Grandville four or five days before the actual parade to find, secure and eliminate potential threats.

"There would be an advance team that would come in ahead of time to look at the parade route to make sure they were securing that and then you'd have a number of agents that would be brought in to basically stand post and secure particular areas," Russell said.

But all of the agents didn't necessarily come from Washington.

"You'd have a portion of the secret service - the Vice President's detail agents that would come with the vice president, then you'd have a mix of local agents and they might even bring in agents from other cities to supplement that," Russell said.

Russell said many secret service agents were former police officers.

"The relationship between the Secret Service and the local law enforcement has always been great. They provide tons of resources and assets and they really do a great job of keeping those perimeters secure," Russell said.

From contingency plans to tactical team, Russell said the agents and police officers form a partnership.

If you were at the parade, you may have noticed a loss in cell phone signal. At one point, WZZM 13 lost the live signal to send to the station. When we asked Russell about that, he said he couldn't talk about talk about that.

According to the Kent County Sheriff's Office, about 80 officers were dedicated to Pence's detail which includes Traffic squad deputies and cadets. Most were used for the motorcade security and traffic points.

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