CHARLOTTE, N.C. More than 1,000 police officers will be patrolling on foot, horseback and motorcycles to provide security and monitor the protesters who have descended on uptown Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention.
But many law enforcement authorities will be working behind the scenes – monitoring possible threats and standing by in case of problems and emergencies. Even soldiers with the National Guard will be helping.
“We’ve done everything we can on security. We’ve ramped it up,” Mayor Anthony Foxx told the Observer. “We’ve roughly doubled the city’s police force.”
More than 50 agencies will man the Multi-Agency Communication Center – a 17,000 square-foot office building near the airport filled with tables, chairs and big-screen TVs.
Among the agencies at the center: the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, the White House Military Office, the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Max Milien, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said he couldn’t discuss how authorities “carry out our protective responsibilities.”
“We can say there is a tremendous amount of advance planning and coordination in the areas of venue security, air space security, training, communications and credentialing,” Milien said. “Our goal 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.”
Shelley Lynch, the FBI’s spokeswoman in Charlotte, said the FBI has set up several command centers for the DNC that will house local, state and federal agencies. The FBI also will have representatives in other coordinating centers.
“The role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a National Special Security Event like the Democratic National Convention here in Charlotte is to monitor, coordinate, and share intelligence and threat information with local police and other federal agencies,” Lynch said.
“The FBI is also there to assist in responding to any incident that occurs and to investigate if there is evidence that a federal crime has taken place. The FBI is the lead investigative agency in the federal government if an incident is determined to be an act of terrorism.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has 1,760 police officers. CMPD is bringing in officers from other jurisdictions to assist with the DNC.
CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said the police officers have been trained over the last several months in different areas, including what he called “large crowd management.”
CMPD’s goal, he said, is to develop a security plan that will ensure a safe environment for the community, dignitaries and event participants.
“There has been a tremendous amount of advance planning and coordination,” Tufano said. “We will not, however, discuss means, methods, specific resources or numbers utilized to carry out protective responsibilities.”
Lt. Col. Robert Carver, the spokesman for the N.C. National Guard, told the Observer that several hundred soldiers will be helping provide security in Charlotte during the DNC.
“We’re working with the police department on security issues in and around Charlotte,” he said.
Carver said he couldn’t be more specific about the National Guard soldiers’ security work.
Carver said he didn’t know if the airfield at the N.C. Air National Guard Base in Charlotte will be used when President Obama comes to Charlotte for the DNC. The base is next to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
“The airfield will be busy,” he said.
Carver said Obama and other presidents have used the Air National Guard Base on other trips to Charlotte.
“On other occasions when the President has come to Charlotte, Air Force One has been on the base,” he said. “We look forward to do whatever we can for the Commander in Chief whenever he comes.”