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Dallas Police Chief: Security In Place For Bush Center Dedication

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BJ Austin

The Dallas police chief says security is at its highest for Thursday’s ceremonies at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  That includes activation of the city’s emergency operations center as a precaution, and keeping at eye on protesters.

Chief David Brown says the Boston Marathon bombings have heightened security awareness here. Secret Service and Southern Methodist University police are in the lead roles, but Dallas police have a large part to play in hosting five living presidents, handling dignitary motorcades, traffic and protesters.

“The support role we play obviously with so many dignitaries coming to our city is one that will involve a lot of our resources, both personnel and equipment," Brown said after a closed-door briefing for city council members on security plans.  "We will also stand up our emergency operation center as a precautionary measure.”

Brown says police have identified Dallas locations that may have value as some sort of target and ramped up security.  He says he’s confident they’re prepared.

Jodie Evans, from California is a co-founder of Code Pink: Women for Peace.  She’ll be among protestors on the other side of Central Expressway from the SMU campus and the Bush Center. She says anger of the Iraq War is fueling the protests.

“We’re here to say shame that we would be celebrating someone that hasn’t even said sorry when the facts have been exposed and we all know we went there for a lie,” Evans said at a working breakfast for protesters. 

They're planning a week of events linked to the Bush Center opening called “The People’s Response.” John Lingenfelder from Plano says he'll be there "to make sure people become aware and look into what happened over the eight years of that presidency."

Former Army Colonel Ann Wright resigned the military because of what she calls the illegal war in Iraq, as well as policies of torture.  She would like to talk to students about the importance of what’s in the new building on their campus.

“People should be held accountable and even though it’s the president and his library, within the confines of that structure is the evidence that should put in him in jail,” she said.

But she won’t be doing it on campus this week, because security is extremely tight.   

Protesters did win a victory in court Friday when federal Judge Jorge Solis ruled Dallas could not enforce a city ordinance that bans the carrying of signs on, over or near freeways.   Organizers promise a week of peaceful protests to counter the high-profile library opening.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.