Last month, Tampa police dropped eavesdropping drones from their shopping list for next year's Republican National Convention.
But the city's finest will have a tank - or what looks like one.
"Rescue 2" is its name, and it's officially an amphibious rescue vehicle. But, according to Yahoo News, the city's Tactical Response Team rolled it over to the Occupy Tampa protest earlier this month.
According to the city's website, this armored personnel carrier is bulletproof, weighs 12 tons, can hit 60 mph on dry pavement and can go through five feet of water.
"It is virtually unstoppable," the website says, adding that it was purchased from the military with a federal grant.
In case you were wondering, there is also a "Rescue 1," which looks more like a truck. Both vehicles were actually designed to transport people or to be used for search and rescue during a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
Still, they look menacing enough that any protester might think twice before going up against either.
And what about Charlotte, host of the Democratic National Convention? Is it similarly equipped? That's the question we put to CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano.
His answer: "We have no such vehicle."
New broadband system should help responders
When Bank of America Stadium hosted an international soccer doubleheader last year, flag-waving fans burned their cell phones sending pictures and tweets to their countries back home. So much that they overloaded the system, causing emergency responders to lose wireless connections.
That shouldn't happen during the convention.
That's because the city expects to have a new broadband system for emergency responders up and running uptown. The network, which eventually will extend throughout the county, will provide a more efficient, secure network to send GIS and other data to police, fire and other responders.
"For police in the field, it's really going to provide a much more robust network to provide data," said Chuck Robinson, the city's director of business support services.
The system is funded through a $17 million federal grant and $4 million city match.
The equipment will begin to be installed next spring.
Occupyers, the convention, and the homeless
As Charlotte leaders debate how to handle the Occupy Charlotte protests, one Steele Creek advocate has concerns for another population. What about the people who already were occupying Charlotte?
"(Homelessness) is being overshadowed by the fate of Occupy Charlotte," said Ni chole Jaworski, founder of service group Steele Creek Outreach, which recently became Serve Charlotte's Homeless.
Jaworski is concerned about Charlotte City Council's latest discussion for curbing overnight stays on city property. City Manager Curt Walton said the city is writing ordinances related to protests that will be ready for council review in January. The city has written a draft ordinance that would prohibit camping on all city property, which would include the space outside City Hall being used by Occupy Charlotte.
The ordinances are being written to prepare for next year's convention.
Jaworski fears it won't be the Occupy protesters who are hurt, but rather the homeless.
"Most of the Occupy Charlotte individuals have housing to return to, while most area homeless individuals do not," she said. "If this ordinance is passed, entire campsites where homeless individuals reside will disappear."
Lake Wylie Pilot
Treadstone Group offers security assessments
Ross Bulla figures there's plenty that businesses and event planners should know about safety at next year's convention.
Bulla is president of The Treadstone Group Inc., a security management firm based in the Lake Norman area. He's doing assessments for private groups who want to examine their security risks next year.
"We fully trust in the ability of the Secret Service and local police to secure public spaces," said Bulla. "But the private sector needs to understand that they're going to have to prepare for and advance their own security."
Bulla says his background includes years of corporate security, and training civilian and law enforcement personnel during the 1996 Olympics.
The Treadstone Group is sponsoring a seminar on Jan. 12 for groups looking for insight on how agencies might manage security next year.
The event, which costs $35, is at CPCC's Harris Campus.
The Treadstone Group's name, by the way, is inspired by the Robert Ludlum novel "The Bourne Identity" - later popularized in a series of movies starring Matt Damon.
In the storyline, Operation Treadstone is a secret CIA operation.
Foxx's re-election called a 'laboratory' for 2012
Sunday's New York Times cited Democratic performances in recent elections in Charlotte and Raleigh as a "highly effective dry run for 2012."
The article by Jim Rutenberg talked about President Barack Obama 's field organization, Obama for America, which helped Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx cruise to re-election and helped Nancy McFarlane become mayor of Raleigh.
State GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood called Charlotte "a laboratory" for Democrats.
Pollsters to Obama:
Make way for Hillary
If two Democratic pollsters have their way, it won't be President Obama accepting his party's nomination next year in Charlotte.
It would be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen said that even if Obama wins, the chances that he could govern well are low.
"If President Obama were to withdraw, he would put great pressure on the Republicans to come to the table and negotiate - especially if the president singularly focused in the way we have suggested on the economy, job creation, and debt and deficit reduction," they wrote.
Caddell and Schoen, who worked for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, have been at odds with the party before. Schoen is a leader of Americans Elect, a group trying to put a third-party candidate on the 2012 ballot.
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