Security for Barbara Bush's funeral years in the making

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Thursday, April 19, 2018
Barbara Bush funeral already planned for heavy security
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ABC13's Tom Abrahams reports on the heavy security expected for Barbara Bush's funeral, which is expected to draw former presidents.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As dignitaries, including current first lady Melania Trump, arrive in Houston for services remembering Barbara Bush, security teams are working overtime to keep everyone safe.

Coordinating security for this event is a massive undertaking - years in the making - with the help and guidance of several agencies and the Bush family.

Thom Bolsch is a former Secret Service agent who worked under four U.S. presidents. He was also part of the Secret Service team that helped coordinate the security and logistics for Barbara Bush's viewing and funeral, which is a part of the job the agency does for all presidents and first ladies.

"It's a massive undertaking, as you can well imagine," Bolsch attests.

The Houston Field Office is leading the effort. Security is paramount, but so is ease of movement.

"It's more about keeping the VIPs where the VIPs are supposed to be, keeping the press where the press is supposed to be, and keeping the public where they're supposed to be," said Bolsch.

While the Secret Service is in charge, agents get help from Houston police and every law enforcement agency along the processional route between Houston and College Station.

The City of Houston is also involved.

"We've been working with the family and on this plan for many years and working cooperatively with Secret Service," said Susan Christensen, with the City of Houston. "This is a very large event for our city, so we will treat it as we do all large events, which is extra care."

Care that is years in the making.

"Secret Service likes to prepare," said Bolsch. "And if we have 10 or 15 years to prepare, that just means we have more time to make sure it's fluid. If something changes, we can always make adjustments."

So expect that security will be both visible and not. There will be traffic and detours, and there will be lines.

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