NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The stage is set on Cadet Memorial Field at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Preparations for the 140th commencement exercises and the presidential visit are happening on and off-campus.
“There’s a lot of preparation and we have some representatives now that are meeting with the Secret Service,” said Groton Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro, Jr.
President Biden like the presidents before him will arrive on Air Force One at Groton New London airport and from there his motorcade makes its way to the Coast Guard Academy.
“We don’t want to encumber the motoring public as a whole but given the fact that we’ve got the president in town they should expect some traffic delays and we will have roads closed down along the motorcade route,” said Chief Fusaro.
Coast Guard Cadet Jordan Park who is graduating next week was a high school senior in Groton when President Donald Trump came four years ago.
“It was like this big deal and the roads were closed and everything like that and then all my friends in high school knew that I was coming here and that was like on the horizon for like my graduation so it’s really crazy that it’s happening now,” gushed Park.
News 8 first met Park four years ago during Swab Summer on her very first day at the academy. Now she is preparing to walk across the stage next week as a graduate.
“That feels so far away right now,” said Park back in 2017. “I’m just trying to get through today and then the summer.”
She was talking about the probability she would hear from the president at her graduation. Because of the president’s appearance and the pandemic commencement ceremonies are closed to the public and guests are limited.
“My mom and my sister are coming and the rest of my family will be tuning in on the live stream,” said Park.
This year will be the first time local and State Police will all be on the state radio system, which will help with coordinating the police protection.
“So instead of having one of our officers with an officer from another department or maybe with the State Police so we can make sure that we’re getting the same radio messages out, we’ll all be on the same radio system,” explained Chief Fusaro.
The presidential detail will cost the locals thousands of dollars depending on how many officers are needed and for how long.