Patchogue Mayor Paul V. Pontieri Jr. urged residents to prepare for rallies, protests and the heavy presence of Secret Service agents as the village gears up to host a Thursday fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about the upcoming visit from Trump,” Pontieri said at Monday’s trustee meeting. “Just to put everybody’s mind at ease, there’s a lot of security.”
He said he has met with the Secret Service and the Suffolk County Police Department about their plans to keep Trump, protesters and residents safe.
The mayor said there will be at least 35 Secret Service agents patrolling the village along with other federal law enforcement officials and county police. Pontieri said agents didn’t inform him when and how Trump will arrive.
The Suffolk County Republicans are hosting the 5 p.m. fundraiser at the Emporium nightclub, just a short walk away from where Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero was murdered in a hate crime in 2008.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini said Tuesday that his department is “finalizing details” of an enhanced police presence for the Trump event. In addition to uniformed officers, plainclothes officers and K-9 units will be on patrol, he said.
Organizers estimate Trump will address a crowd of between 1,200 and 1,300.
A handful of protests and vigils are expected throughout the village on Thursday.
Joselo Lucero stood Monday morning near the spot on Railroad Avenue where his brother was fatally attacked by Patchogue teenager Jeffrey Conroy, then 17, to make the point that Trump should not bring his charged immigration rhetoric to the village.
The type of harsh talk against illegal immigration espoused by Trump is precisely what empowered Conroy and six other teenagers to go looking for Hispanics to beat up the night his brother died, Joselo Lucero said.
While Trump’s scheduled appearance has been met with a lot of public resistance, the mayor said village officials had no role in the decision.
“The ability to have the conference is free speech,” Pontieri said.
Pontieri said residents should be prepared for several blocked streets after noon, a bevy of parking hassles and a large amount of hungry patrons visiting restaurants.
The mayor asked residents and protesters to be mindful of their actions and behavior on Thursday.
“When this is all over, this is going to be a reflection on the community,” Pontieri said.
For now, the mayor said he will keep a careful eye on the village.
“As we hear things, we’ll get the word out as best we can,” the mayor said.