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article imageTight security surrounded visit by man of peace, the Dalai Lama Special

By Kay Mathews     May 15, 2011 in Lifestyle
Fayetteville - Five law enforcement agencies representing different federal, state, and local departments participated in the security force surrounding the Dalai Lama’s visit to the University of Arkansas.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama made two public appearances at the University of Arkansas on May 11. The first event was a morning panel discussion with co-panelists Prof. Vincent Harding and Sister Helen Prejean. The second event, held in the afternoon, was a keynote address by the Dalai Lama.
The events were held at Bud Walton Arena on the UA campus. Everyone entering the events passed through metal detectors, similar to those found at airports, and were required to empty pockets of all items. Those items, along with purses or laptops brought my those with media credentials, were examined by security officers. We were not, however, required to take off our shoes.
The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama
Courtesy of Susan Storch Photography
On May 1, Lt. Matt Mills, of the University of Arkansas Police Department, was quoted by ArkansasOnline as saying, “The thousands expected to attend the event will be watched by police brought in from local agencies as well as campus officers and a detail assigned by the State Department to the Dalai Lama.”
Inside the arena could be found agents from the Dignitary Protection Division of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), According to DS, “In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States.”
Located within the DS is the Dignitary Protection Division (DPD). The DPD notes the following:
The Dignitary Protection Division coordinates all aspects of protective security details for cabinet-level foreign dignitaries who visit the United States (approximately 150 each year). Protection is normally afforded to a foreign dignitary on the basis of threat assessment and reciprocity. The division has provided security to foreign ministers, former heads of state, members of the British royal family, the Secretary Generals of the United Nations and NATO, Palestinian Chairman Yassar Arafat, and the Dalai Lama.
If you looked closely enough, the DPD agents could be identified by the famous earpieces worn by federal protective security agents.
Agent with State Department s Dignitary Protection Division at Dalai Lama event. University of Arkan...
Agent with State Department's Dignitary Protection Division at Dalai Lama event. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. May 11, 2011
Agent with State Department s Dignitary Protection Division at Dalai Lama event.  University of Arka...
Agent with State Department's Dignitary Protection Division at Dalai Lama event. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. May 11, 2011
Those attending the Dalai Lama events were advised in advance of security measures. Members of the media, for example, were required to submit an application for media/press accreditation almost three weeks in advance of the event. The application package had to include an assignment letter from editor, passport-sized photograph, and by-line articles. Birth dates and social security numbers were required so that they could be submitted to the State Department for clearance.
Upon arrival, accredited members of the media were screened, given a press badge, and then escorted to an assigned, gated-off area on the floor level of the arena in the southwest corner. We were not allowed to leave the area without an escort, even to go to the bathroom or to visit with friends on the floor. At the conclusion of the panel discussion, one door was opened for attendees on the floor level to exit through. After there became a back-up of people trying to exit, a second door was opened, which happened to be a tunnel in which the Dalai Lama’s motorcade was located.
Dalai Lama s motorcade.  University of Arkansas  Fayetteville  Ark.  May 11  2011
Dalai Lama's motorcade. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. May 11, 2011
After getting special permission from a State Department agent, I was allowed to exit through the tunnel. As I exited, the words spoken by Lt. Mills were born-out. Local agencies with a noticeable presence at the event included the Fayetteville Police Department, specifically its Motorcycle Unit which are “are used as escorts in dignitary motorcades.”
Officer with Fayetteville PD in Dalai Lama s motorcade area.  University of Arkansas  Fayetteville  ...
Officer with Fayetteville PD in Dalai Lama's motorcade area. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.. May 11, 2011
City of Fayetteville Police motorcycle at Dalai Lama event.  University of Arkansas  Fayetteville  A...
City of Fayetteville Police motorcycle at Dalai Lama event. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.. May 11, 2011
Once outside, officers with the Arkansas State Police, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, and the University of Arkansas Police Department’s K9 unit were present.
Arkansas State Police officer and car.  Dalai Lama event at University of Arkansas  Fayetteville  Ar...
Arkansas State Police officer and car. Dalai Lama event at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. May 11, 2011
Officers with the Washington County Sheriff s Department stand guard at Dalai Lama event.  Universit...
Officers with the Washington County Sheriff's Department stand guard at Dalai Lama event. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.. May 11, 2011
Officers with University of Arkansas PD s K9 program at Dalai Lama event.  University of Arkansas  F...
Officers with University of Arkansas PD's K9 program at Dalai Lama event. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. May 11, 2011
At the end of the second event, NWAonline [subscription required] reported, "Even though he has stepped down as political leader of the Tibetan people — the first time in four centuries the religious and political roles have been separated — the Dalai Lama will continue his commitment to peace and human values, he concluded."
The Dalai Lama's personal commitment to peace continues, and due to tight security measures surrounding His Holiness's visit, it was a peaceful and memorable day on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
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