Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Amberley Village knows presidential drill


Police prepare for Clinton visit

BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        AMBERLEY VILLAGE — The president is coming again. Amberley knows the drill.

        For the third time in the past year, this affluent village on Thursday will be the site of a political fund-raiser at the Belkay Lane home of prominent attorney Stanley Chesley.

        President Clinton is expected to speak.

        The event brings with it the usual sea of Secret Service types, who wear crisp suits and communication devices and position themselves in the wooded back yards of Mr. Chesley's neighbors.

        Village police allocate overtime payment. Roads will be temporarily closed. Media camera crews will line the parking lot at French Park. Traffic on Ridge Road, a main thoroughfare, will slow to a crawl.

        Sign-carrying protesters and Clinton supporters will line designated areas behind yellow police tape.

        But in a matter of hours, it will be over. Amberley knows the drill.

        Maintenance crews are sprucing up. On Tuesday morning, an Elgin street sweeper cleaned Ridge Road, several motorists slowing behind it.

        “It was very exciting the first time,” said Linda Reynolds of Northside, a personal assistant to one of Mr. Chesley's neighbors. “He's still the president. It's something I can tell my grandkids. But things get back to normal pretty quick.”

        Many residents here focus on the “getting back to normal” part.

        “It doesn't affect us that much unless you're directly involved,” said Jim Wamsley, 52, of Amberley, as he made his way around the jogging trail at French Park. “It's more of a bother to the police.”

        For police, preparation is two-fold: provide security and safety during the president's visit, and ensure that routine services aren't compromised in the process. About five to 10 officers will work an average of five hours overtime, in addition to the normal day shift workers, Amberley Village police Lt. Roger Petrey said Tuesday.

        “We plan OT, but we try to minimize it by using manpower efficiently,” Lt. Petrey explained.

        Police will again use yellow police tape to cordon off an area along Ridge Road for protesters.

        More than 100 protesters stood in the afternoon drizzle in September, many shouting criticisms about the Lewinsky affair as the presidential motorcade made its way from Ridge to Belkay Lane. Others were one-issue protesters, primarily opposed to the president's pro-choice position on abortion.

        Dozens of Clinton supporters gathered at a designated area farther north on Ridge, near Galbraith Road.

        Manuel Burton, who jogs in Amberley every other day and lives in adjacent Pleasant Ridge, said Tuesday that events like presidential appearances are proverbial blips on a screen.

        “People don't care unless you're allowed to come to these events,” he said. “Then it's a life experience. Otherwise, it's just like every other day. It's a big deal, don't get me wrong, but ...”

       



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