KC_Prep3.jpgKENT KRIEGSHAUSER/The Register-Mail

A Secret Service agents, right and middle, confer with John Schlaf, Director of Campus Safety at Knox College, on the south lawn of Old Main Tuesday afternoon.

Knox deals with security issues

Schlaf was GPD chief at last Clinton visit to Galesburg

Thursday, May 31, 2007

GALESBURG - When Bill Clinton came to Galesburg in 1995 to launch his Middle Class Bill of Rights, John Schlaf was chief of the Galesburg Police Department.

Schlaf now heads security for Knox College and again is working with Secret Service agents, this time in preparation for Clinton's arrival on Saturday to deliver the commencement address at the college.

"Chief Schlaf has been wonderful to have here," said Karrie Heartlein, director of public relations at Knox. "He's been through this before and he understands how the Galesburg Police Department works."

Secret Service agents have been in town since at least Tuesday, working with college and law enforcement officials.

"We didn't have to deal with Secret Service with previous speakers," Heartlein said.

Clinton was a sitting president last time he visited Galesburg, so security likely will be different this time around, Heartlein said.

"Campus security is working closely with the Galesburg Police Department to make sure we have sufficient security personnel on campus. All of our security people will be working this weekend," Heartlein said.

When former U.S. President George H.W. Bush delivered the commencement address at Monmouth College in May 2000, college officials worked with Secret Service agents and state and local police for several weeks before the visit.

A couple of Secret Service agents who marched with Bush in the processional wore caps and gowns to be inconspicuous.

Clinton is expected only to be in Galesburg for a few hours Saturday, Heartlein said.

The commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the south lawn of Old Main, rain or shine. In case of lightning, the ceremony will be moved to T. Fleming Fieldhouse and attendees with tickets will get priority seating.

The college has issued about 4,500 tickets to faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and family members of the graduates. Those with tickets will have chairs. Others are welcome to attend but should bring their own seating.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive as early as 9 a.m. Parking is limited.

South Street from Cedar Street to Cherry Street will be closed from about 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. to allow for pedestrian traffic.

Media from as far away as Washington, D.C., will be in town to cover commencement. Heartlein said around five area TV stations have requested media credentials as have local print and radio media outlets. The commencement will be broadcast live on radio stations WGIL and WAIK.

"If there are people who can't get here or don't want to fight the crowds, by all means, turn on the radio," Heartlein said.

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