On the heels of recent violence in the United States and France, steps are being taking to beef up security in Cleveland as the Republican National Convention Gets underway Monday.
Barricades have been secured at key streets and intersections in Cleveland’s downtown core in an attempt to prevent a tragedy like the one that happened in France last week, leaving 84 people dead after a 20-tonne truck was driven through crowds of people celebrating Bastile Day in Nice.
In Cleveland, there is a layered security approach being taken for the four day event, including outside help from police forces across America.
“We have partnered with outside law enforcement agencies from all across the country for support, for staffing reasons,” said Jennifer Ciaccia, Sergeant of Public Affairs for Cleveland Division of Police.
“We do have officers here from as far west as California, and as far south as Florida. So, it’s been an overwhelming response, and it’s actually pretty exciting to see all of the different uniforms that are here, and how everyone is coming together in support of this effort.”
While the total number of law enforcement officers hasn’t been made public, thousands are expected to be on hand.
“It has changed our approach in that we have let our officers know that they need to be on a heightened state of awareness for their own personal safety, and in the field, we’ve eliminated any one-man response cars and have everyone going out in tandem with partners,” said Ciaccia.
She added that law enforcement is there to support the community and hopes the community will help support their efforts by alerting them to suspicious behaviour and packages.
There has also been concerns about violent protests between supporters of the Republican presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, and those who oppose his rhetoric.
Cleveland’s chief of police, Calvin Williams, said there have been reports that anarchists and black separatists are planning to protest in the city during the convention.
Another concern is that Ohio is an open-carry state, which means there is the possibility that people might openly carry firearms during rallies, marches, and protests.
AM980’s Andrew Lawton is in Cleveland for the convention, and will be providing updates as they happen.