Motorists should prepare for heavy traffic delays Friday when President Donald Trump visits Long Island to address the recent wave of killings in Brentwood and nearby Central Islip, warned Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini Thursday.
“I would do your best to stay off the roads,” Sini said at a news briefing.
He declined to specify road closures at the request of the U.S. Secret Service.
“When the president of the United States visits a location . . . you should expect major traffic implications and you should plan accordingly.”
The president, in the wake of 17 MS-13 killings in Suffolk since 2016, plans to give a speech to law enforcement officials Friday afternoon at the Van Nostrand Theater on the Brentwood campus of Suffolk County Community College, officials have said. The event is not open to the public.
Sini said hundreds of Suffolk police officers are part of the elaborate security plan for the visit. Nassau police officers and New York State troopers will also take part in the security effort, he said.
Sini declined to estimate the number of demonstrators expected to gather in the area Friday to protest Trump’s appearance. He said the Secret Service had asked the department not to specify where demonstrators will be allowed. Sini said police are monitoring protest plans through social media and direct contact with various groups.
“There’s no question there will be protesters,” said Sini. “And of course the law enforcement agencies that are participating in this operation are prepared for that. Our goals are to make sure that the president’s trip here is safe for him and his team but also to ensure the safety of all the protesters.”
Sini said he planned to seek federal reimbursement for the expenses associated with providing security for the president.
“I have someone researching the process for that already,” Sini said.
Sini, a Democrat who is running for Suffolk district attorney, said he planned to attend the speech, but had been solely focused on the security infrastructure around the visit.
“If I were given the opportunity to speak to the president regarding to MS-13, I would ask and talk about the same things I did with the attorney general,” said Sini, who asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his April visit to Central Islip to boost funding for more federal prosecutors.
When asked by a reporter how he differed from Trump on policy toward MS-13, Sini said: “I can’t answer that.”
Sini said he wouldn’t get into the politics of Trump’s visit, saying only: “It’s good to see that national leaders are paying attention to an issue that affects our communities.”