Public safety officials say they're ready to handle Trump rally & protests

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Public safety officials from the City, County and the state said they're fully prepared to handle protests surrounding President Donald Trump's rally in downtown Phoenix. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Public safety officials from the City, County and the state said they're fully prepared to handle protests surrounding President Donald Trump's rally in downtown Phoenix. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The security team is headed up by Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The security team is headed up by Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he stood by his earlier comments that he thinks it's too soon to have a political rally after the protests in Charlottesville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he stood by his earlier comments that he thinks it's too soon to have a political rally after the protests in Charlottesville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery made it clear that he stands side by side with law enforcement officials to carry out the mission of public safety. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery made it clear that he stands side by side with law enforcement officials to carry out the mission of public safety. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Trump rally will be at the Phoenix Convention Center with protests planned nearby. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Trump rally will be at the Phoenix Convention Center with protests planned nearby. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Public safety officials from the City, County and the state held a joint news conference on Monday to address preparedness and safety for the upcoming presidential visit set for Tuesday at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Mayor Greg Stanton said Tuesday would be a “difficult and trying day for our city and for the law enforcement professionals whose job it is to keep everyone safe.”

[RAW VIDEO: Phoenix city officials talk about preparations for President's visit, rally]

But he also said he believed the right team was in place to make sure everything was successful.

That team is headed up by Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. She said past demonstrations, some on a much larger scale, have been positive and peaceful in Phoenix and she expects nothing less on Tuesday.

[RELATED: Arizona Democrats worried about Trump rally in Phoenix]

Williams pointed out that the Valley has been home to several Super Bowls, Final Four events and other major happenings that have all gone off without a hitch.

“We want this event to be peaceful. But there is a distinct difference between voicing your First Amendment rights and committing unlawful acts,” said Williams. “Free speech will be supported because that’s what we do. Criminal conduct with be immediately addressed. So, my expectation of my officers is that we remain professional, decisive and immediately responsive if the need arises.”

[RELATED: Police preparing for demonstrators during Trump visit]

Williams stood side by side with Dir. Frank Milstead of the Department of Public Safety and Sheriff Paul Penzone of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The overarching theme of the news conference was one of a team effort for the preservation of rights and the safety of everyone.

“Chief Williams and I, we were here during the 1070 protest. We watched hundreds of thousands of people walk down the streets of Phoenix, get their message across without violence and hurting one another. And really, I think that’s what Arizona is about and I think that’s what this community is about,” said Milstead.

[RELATED: Downtown businesses consider closing during Trump visit]

It is his folks who have been monitoring social media, watching and keeping tabs on different organizations through the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center. So far, there have been no credible threats of violence or any indication that large numbers of people from other states will converge on Phoenix to take part in protests or counter-protests.

[RELATED: Biker group offering protection for President Trump's visit]

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery made it clear that he stands side by side with law enforcement officials to carry out the mission of public safety.

“If any group or individual resorts to violence against fellow citizens or assaults members of our law enforcement community or destroy any property, prosecutors will be ready to use all applicable laws to hold people accountable for their actions. It does not matter which group or creed you affiliate with. If you engage in violence you will subject to arrest and prosecution,” said Montgomery.

Stanton and Williams exuded confidence that the City is ready for nearly any scenario that may go down.

[SLIDESHOW: Donald Trump in Arizona]

A spokesman for the Governor’s Office has confirmed that about 100 Arizona National Guard military police will be at the ready should Williams call on them. But they will not be in the streets near the convention center taking part in crowd control.

Williams would not speak specifically about a plan to keep pro-Trump folks and those protesting the President’s visit separated.

“We plan on creating a situation where people are allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights, while still providing access and options for public safety to get in and to people if the need arises,” said Williams. 

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Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

Click to learn more about Donna.

Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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