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Security to be tight, far-reaching for Governor's Association meeting

State Police Major Scott Gosselin says his agency and the Portland Police Dept. are partners in the extensive security operation.

PORTLAND, Maine — The banners are up inside downtown Portland’s Holiday Inn by the Bay.

That’s the preparation you can see. 

What is unseen, at least to most people, is the extensive security preparation for the arrival of several dozen, at least, of the nation’s 50 governors.

The annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association begins Wednesday in Portland, and State Police Major Scott Gosselin says his agency and the Portland Police Dept. are partners in an extensive security operation.

“We feel the responsibility to have enough of an enforcement presence to make sure those folks are safe and feel safe,” Gosselin, who has helped lead the preparations, said. 

The event was originally planned for 2020, but was canceled due to COVID.

Once they were given the green light to hold the meeting this year, Maj. Gosselin says they updated the earlier plan and went to work.

“This is probably one of the biggest lifts we’ve done, as far as a security detail, in a very long time."

They need to secure both the Holiday Inn by the Bay and the Westin Portland Harborview hotel, two large hotels within walking distance of each other where the primary events will be held and many attendees will stay. 

Security also needs to cover at least two events at other locations outside of Portland, too.

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Gosselin said the whole effort requires coordination with the individual security teams for each of the governors while they are in Maine—even if they choose to stay extra days.

The meeting comes at a time when the country is seriously divided politically, with perhaps more partisan rancor than usual because of the recent Supreme Court abortion ruling, repeated instances of gun violence, and a suffering economy.

All that, says Maj. Gosselin, provides a reason for strong security.

“Given everything happening the last couple of years, it’s important to recognize the need for good law enforcement coverage for dignitaries,” he said.

Will the heavy security be obvious to the general public? Gosselin says it likely will not.

“I don’t believe they will notice it to the extent you might expect... Like any conference, there might be road closures at some time. But in terms of being able to see that presence, I don’t believe you will be able to recognize it for what it actually is.”

But he promises that, noticed or not, the security will be there.

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