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Dignitary protection training in the Piedmont Triad

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It made headlines a few weeks ago when Secret Service agents ran the New York City Marathon with the president of Estonia as part of her security detail. That effort gave people a little insight into how dedicated these security efforts have to be.

And while the Secret Service provides security for presidential-level dignitaries, the U.S. Department of State handles other high-ranking governmental dignitaries like the secretary of state, U.S. diplomats and dignitaries from other countries through its Diplomatic Security Service.

Today a diplomatic security detail was traveling around Winston-Salem and Greensboro doing some special work and FOX8 was invited behind the curtain.

From Old Salem in Winston-Salem to restaurants and governmental buildings in Greensboro, these “dignitaries” spent Thursday traveling around surrounded by a protective detail.

But upon closer inspection, the “dignitaries” are stand ins; one, the resident agent in charge, Dave Monroe, the other, Rhino Times Editor-in-Chief John Hammer.

This protective detail is just training, bringing new agents up to speed and training local law enforcement officers to work in the detail if ever called upon in our area.

“I was not aware of all that goes into a detail and the process,” said Justin Mitchell, a state trooper based in Guilford County who is training for the security detail.

Another of the day’s VIPs brought into the training was Greensboro City Council At-Large representative Marikay Abuzuaiter.

“I kind of feel like you're in a safe place playing this scenario. And it's just knowing that all the things that they do, I'm sure there's a lot more detail that I don't even know about,” Abuzuaiter said.

The job is a lot of logistics and working to eliminate threats before they arise, making sure the dignitaries can get around safely and without too much effort.

“A lot of people have a lot of faith in the fact that this is done because I believe it not only keeps the diplomats and dignitary safe, but I believe that the public sees what is going on and that they know that they're in a safe place as well,” Abuzuaiter said.

The Diplomatic Security Service says they like training in the Triad because of the ease of getting around and the laid back atmosphere almost anywhere they go.

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