FORT WORTH — Secret Service agents opened the doors 90 minutes early to accommodate the crowd for a Barack Obama rally here Thursday, allowing police to perform weapons searches on everyone who entered the Fort Worth Convention Center.
The Fort Worth rally came one week after Dallas police complained that the Secret Service ordered them to stop weapons screening to speed long lines seeking to attend a campaign rally there.
"The mags are not going to close at all," said a Secret Service agent, referring to the dozen Magnetometer metal detectors posted at the entrances. The agent declined to give his name because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
Thursday, there seemed to be more agents at the doors, more metal detectors and more bomb-sniffing dogs than in Dallas. Although the convention center doors weren't scheduled to open to the public until 6 p.m., the Secret Service began allowing people in at 4:30 p.m.
Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service in Dallas, declined to comment on security measures.
People began lining up Thursday morning to attend the Fort Worth rally, but the crowd moved quickly once the doors were opened. Many said it took only 15 to 20 minutes to get into the convention center, which can seat 10,000.
At an entrance on the west side of the convention center, the line had vanished long before Obama took the stage.
"I was expecting to stay in line for at least an hour," said a surprised Angela Sterling, a human resources manager from Arlington, Texas, who got in within 20 minutes.