Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Two from city's sheriff's office part of Obama motorcade
Draper, Mills among motorcyclists
Sunday, July 15, 2012
By GINNY WRAY - Bulletin Staff Writer
Martinsville Sheriff Steve Draper has seen a lot in his decades-long career in law enforcement, but the highlight of that career came Friday when he was part of the motorcade that escorted President Barack Obama through Roanoke.
“It was probably a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Draper said of the chance to ride his motorcycle with other law officers and the two limousines, one of which carried the president, to a campaign rally.
Draper rode along with retired sheriff’s office captain Tim Mills, who now serves in an auxiliary capacity with Draper’s office. They were invited by the State Police.
“We do a lot of things together on motorcycles,” Draper said of the State Police. “They needed some assistance” and asked for the two local men’s help along with officers from the State Police and the city of Roanoke.
The officers met the president’s entourage at the Roanoke Airport. They were part of a 23-vehicle motorcade that accompanied him on U.S. 581 into downtown Roanoke, through the Elm Street exit and on to the No. 1 Fire Station where Obama addressed a crowd estimated at 3,000 people.
Draper and Mike Bradley from the State Police were in the lead as the president’s limousine arrived, he said. He added that there actually were two limousines so the public would not know which one carried the president, for security reasons.
The officers’ role was to escort the president through the city without stopping, not provide security, Draper said. That, he added, was up to the Secret Service officers.
They did not meet Obama, but he did wave at the officers, Draper said.
“It was the highlight of my career,” he said Saturday, adding that he appreciated being asked to take part in the escort.