Penzone: Itinerary of Trump trip is good news for law enforcement
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said the locations chosen for President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to the Valley are good for local law enforcement personnel charged with keeping the peace.
Trump will be in town Friday, with a 7 p.m. campaign rally for U.S. Senate candidate Martha McSally scheduled at International Air Response at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in the East Valley.
The congresswoman said she’d also be accompanying the president to Luke Air Force Base on the west side during his first visit to the Phoenix area since August 2017.
“Geographically, structurally and access wise, they’re already limited and prohibited [locations], so we can control those far more effectively,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday.
Penzone said his department would provide secondary support, with police departments in Glendale and Mesa taking the lead in securing the activities.
The military will be involved at Luke, too, he said.
“They let us know how we can supplement or support what they’re doing, and we’ll provide those services,” he said.
“But our SWAT teams, our response teams and even our detention teams are available in some way, shape or form supporting those operations.”
After Trump’s last Valley appearance, a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, police and protesters clashed on the downtown streets.
Phoenix police said they used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters who were throwing rocks and bottles.
Penzone said he didn’t know who made Trump’s plans this week, but he suspected that last year’s unrest – as well as the volatility of today’s political world — played a role in the choices.
“When we can choose locations that can be better managed for access control as well as exposure … then it’s always in the best interest of everyone,” he said.
However, Penzone said he wouldn’t have rejected the idea of another Trump event in downtown Phoenix, although he would have offered recommendations.
“It’s not our job to say ‘no’ unless in and of itself that activity is intended to carry out violence,” he said.
“If the activity itself is lawful, it’s our job to provide a lawful environment for you.”