Secret Service Cancels MNPD Assistance During First Lady Visit - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Secret Service Cancels MNPD Assistance During First Lady Visit

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -The U.S. Secret Service canceled its request for assistance from the Metro Nashville Police Department while First Lady Michelle Obama is in town.

Mrs. Obama will be the commencement speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School's graduation ceremony on Saturday.

According to the statement released by MNPD on Wednesday, Police Chief Steve Anderson urged the Secret Service to reconsider.

"The Nashville Police Department firmly believes that it had developed a plan which would have absolutely protected Mrs. Obama, while at the same time, causing minimal inconvenience to other motorists and citizens," Chief Anderson said.

The two organizations have worked together in the past, but this time the Secret Service said "there will be no compromise in the security arrangements for this visit."

Chief Anderson said the department already had a plan in place for security, but will now have to reassign officers who were initially supposed to be part of Mrs. Obama's motorcade to the Gentry Center at Tennessee State University, where the graduation will be held. 

"We have a difference in philosophy as I said, limited solely on the motorcade. On all other pages, we're on exactly the same page. Same mission, same team," Chief Anderson said Thursday at the West Precinct naming ceremony.

Chief Anderson added that it's the department's obligation to provide security for dignitaries, but he will not be told how many officers are needed and where they need to go.

There will be a strong Metro Police presence around TSU, including three flex teams and more than a dozen additional officers in the immediate area.

No public tickets are available for the graduation.

Mrs. Obama has been to Nashville several times since President Barack Obama took office. Most recently she was in Nashville to speak at the general conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church last June.

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