Federal and local officials are gearing up to provide security for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, with roughly 50,000 attendees expected at the event.
“Numerous officials involved with convention planning told Politico they’ve been preparing meticulously for months, mapping out every contingency,” Politico’s Anna Palmer reports. “An array of law enforcement agencies, from the Secret Service to the Department of Homeland Security, are involved, in concert with the city of Cleveland’s own efforts to keep the event safe.”
In recent months, protests at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign rallies and terror attacks worldwide raised concerns about safety at the convention.
The security plans, which have been coming together throughout the past several months, “already took into account worst-case scenarios, from mass riots to terrorist attacks, among other possible crises.”
“The Secret Service carries out its responsibilities by relying on a core strategy of forming partnerships with all participating law enforcement, public safety officials and military agencies,” Secret Service spokesperson Kevin Dye told Politico. “This NSSE [National Special Security Event] will be no different, as there are numerous partners involved in the planning and implementation of the overall security plan.”
“Our goal,” Dye continued, “is to develop and implement, with the numerous participating agencies, a seamless security plan that will create a safe and secure environment for our protectees, other dignitaries, event participants and the general public.”
Former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security’s office of intergovernmental affairs Juliette Kayyem, told Politico that “’without a doubt’ the global environment and Republican Party friction over Trump increase the risk factor at the convention.”
“People who might be activated by what’s going on in the world would view the convention as a desirable target because everyone is there and everyone is watching,” Kayyem explained. “Both Trump critics and supporters are going into near hand-to-hand combat, [so] this will also be a very high-tension convention if there are any political ‘shenanigans,’ as Donald Trump says.”
The City of Cleveland is also involved in the security prep, according to Politico.
Cleveland solicited bids on its contracting website for interlocking steel barriers and 2,000 sets of riot gear, including collapsible batons, as it prepares to spend the $50 million federal grant set aside to pay for convention security needs. Cleveland is also looking to recruit police officers from other cities to help bolster its ranks to 5,000 officers.
Roughly 1,000 protesters attended the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida.