As many as 12,000 people are expected in Bethpage Wednesday night for a campaign rally organized by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, police said.
Security plans include containing expected demonstrators in a “free speech zone” outside the 7 p.m. rally at Grumman Studios, said acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
The Bethpage campaign event will mark the billionaire businessman-turned-candidate’s first rally in New York State and comes nearly two weeks before the primary on April 19.
Previous Trump rallies, including in Chicago and North Carolina, have been marred by physical skirmishes between protesters and supporters.
Krumpter, speaking at a news briefing Tuesday at police headquarters in Mineola, said officers won’t hesitate to make arrests.
“Violence will not be tolerated here,” he said. “I’m gonna make that very clear: You will be arrested if you engage in any kind of violence. And we will be equipped to handle any kind of violent behavior, whether it’s within the internal area of the rally or in the free-speech area surrounding the facility.”
Krumpter said the department is monitoring protest chatter on social media and has communicated with various groups — which he declined to identify — planning to demonstrate both for and against Trump.
“We’re anticipating 1,000 protesters, but it could be 4- or 5,000, or it could be 100,” he said. “ . . . weather’s a big driver with protesters.”
The National Weather Service forecast calls for breezy conditions with a 30 percent chance of rain and a temperature of 41 degrees at about the time the rally starts.
Security inside the Grumman Studios, which is private property, will be controlled by the Trump campaign and the Secret Service, Krumpter said.
“If they evict somebody and that person refuses to leave, they could be subject to arrest,” Krumpter said.
To accommodate demonstrators, Krumpter said the department will close parts of South Oyster Bay and Grumman roads near the venue from 2 to 10 p.m. Wednesday.
He stressed traffic in the area will be “quite extensive” and said parking details were still being ironed out.
No firearms or bags will be allowed inside the venue, which can hold 12,166 people, Krumpter said.
Steve Carl, owner of Carlyle on the Green and one of the event organizers, said he was told by Trump campaign officials that nearly 18,000 tickets for the event had been requested online.
“It’s going to be quite an event,” Carl said on his way to check out the venue Wednesday morning.
Carl, who runs a catering business, said vendors would be on hand selling food to the crowds expected to line up early for a chance to enter the event.
Trump campaign officials said there is no parking at the venue, so shuttle buses will run from five locations, including Hicksville and Bethpage train stations.
Officials urged attendees to “limit personal items and arrive early to expedite entrance into the venue” and do not bring “homemade signs, banners, back packs or large bags.”
The Secret Service will start screening ticketed attendees, who will be required to go through metal detectors, beginning at 3 p.m.
The department will spend between $300,000 and $400,000 on straight hours and overtime costs for the event, which Krumpter called a “significant police operation.”
“The Trump campaign does not reimburse us,” he said.
Krumpter said the department only learned of the event from the Trump campaign over the weekend and has been “planning pretty much nonstop since.”
He would not say how many police are working the event, but said it will include plainclothes officers.
With Laura Figueroa