Dallas on highest alert since 1984 Republican National Convention

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 12:04 AM

DALLAS -- A helicopter swirled overhead and motorcycles sped by. The presidential motorcade, with its DPD and Secret Service escorts, paraded down Mockingbird with people lining the street.

"It's very impressive!" said Carol Botefuhr, who lives near Mockingbird and the Tollway. She and many neighbors came to watch.

"We have a wonderful city," she proudly said, adding that she hoped everything went off without a hitch.

The helicopters and motorcycles were easily spotted. So were snipers standing watch high atop buildings on the SMU campus, and the DART buses ringing the perimeter of the Omni hotel property Wednesday night.

But most of what's being done to keep the city safe is out of sight, said attorney and former police officer Pete Schulte.

"I mean, you're going to have command centers with control over video cameras from downtown buildings and on the SMU campus. You'll have facial recognition software," he said. "I remember at the inauguration, there was a car just taking pictures to see if anybody was a threat. It's going to be incredible."

Schulte was on President Obama's inaugural detail in Washington, D.C.

Just minutes before the motorcade appeared on Mockingbird, a vehicle crossed into its path and a DPD officer ran to it and banged on the window, ordering it to move.

"This is not fun and games," Schulte said. "If you see police officers or a barricade, do not attempt to go past it. If there's any perceived threat, deadly force is authorized."

Every Dallas police officer is either on duty or on call. Hospitals, especially Parkland, a level-one trauma center, are on notice. And SMU remained eerily vacant Wednesday night, with some evening classes moved to an alternate campus.

"The majority of students, today, tomorrow, and Friday, I don't think will come because they can't park on campus," said student Brandon Williamson, who added that he would be there because he has a test. He said some students are frustrated with the inconvenience, but many are excited that history is happening at SMU.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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