Secret Service all set for Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia

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With Pope Francis in the United States, the Secret Service and other agencies have to put their security plans into action. (WPVI)

With Pope Francis in the United States, the Secret Service and other agencies have to put their security plans into action.

That is a massive undertaking particularly here in Philadelphia where the pope will hold several public events.

"We prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Secret Service Special Agent in Charge David Beach told Action News Tuesday.

Beach says a total of 600 people were involved in security planning for the pope's visit this weekend.

While they won't say how many agents will be on the ground, he says officers have been flown in from across the country to serve in both the undercover and uniformed capacity throughout the weekend.

"With respect to what we prepare for, anything we can think of that could possibly be a vulnerability or a threat, we prepare for," Beach said.

That training has included protection drills with a mock popemobile in Washington for agents who will be directly in charge of the pope's personal protection.

Bomb detection devices, canines, and other technology are in place that will help the screen for not just bombs, but other threats as well.

"We will employ all of that technology, all of the assets at our availability, to ensure a safe environment, not only for the pope, but for all the participants and all of the spectators," Beach said.

Another possible area of concern are terrorists potentially impersonating law enforcement.

"We are confident that we have the right mechanisms in place to make sure that does not occur and that our perimeters are not breached," Beach said.

And with multiple stops across the city planned during the pope's visit, this is the largest security event in the history of Philadelphia.

But for visitors and residents, Beach says, "It is going to be a safe and secure event. People should come and they should enjoy themselves. It is a once in a lifetime event and it is chance for the city of Philadelphia to showcase itself." Beach said.

Beach also says there have been no credible threats against the safety of the pope or the city of Philadelphia.

There will be a total of 24 security checkpoints for people attempting to enter the secure area, both on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and at Independence Hall.
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religionpopepope francispope us visitworld meeting of families 2015religionsecuritysecret service
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