Buffalo police began closing sections of five streets near First Niagara Center shortly after noon today, as law-enforcement officials scrambled to accommodate up to 18,000 or more people for this evening’s Donald J. Trump appearance in the arena.
Police officials, in an early-afternoon press conference, also advised people attending the rally that the screening procedures will be more lengthy and time-consuming than they’re used to seeing.
“The screening is more like an airport screening rather than the screening at a Sabres game,” Buffalo Police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo told reporters near the arena.
Attendees will be let into the event starting at 4 p.m.
“It could be anywhere from a half hour to a couple of hours,” Rinaldo said of the lengthy screening process.
Authorities, of course, don’t know how many people will be attending.
“We’re preparing for the potential of 18,000 plus,” city spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said, based on indications from the Trump campaign.
The street closings affect portions of South Park Avenue and Main, Washington, Illinois and Perry streets. Officials also reminded people that the parking ramps and lots at First Niagara Center, the HSBC Atrium and The Buffalo News will be closed for the event.