Cleveland Police See Minimal Problems as Convention Sees Last Day
- By Sydny Shepard
- Jul 21, 2016
We all knew the Republican National Convention was going to be huge. Even so, Cleveland Police did not back down from the incredible task of securing the Quickens Loan Arena in the midst of some of the deadliest police shootings in U.S. history.
In preparation for the event, the city of Cleveland swore in 2,000 out-of-state officers to assist its group of 500. They added 3,000 federal officers assigned to RNC security. The planning for the event proved successful as the convention comes to a close on July 21. The officers still stand steady after three days of protests, crowd management and facility security within the 1.7-square-mile event zone.
Perhaps one of the most prominent pieces of security equipment viewed by those attending the event were the 300 bikes on which the officers rode throughout the days of the conference. Chief Williams described officers on bikes to be more approachable and their mobility gave them the ability to maneuver into places cars cannot while also giving them a quick transition to on-foot if needed.
Officers were dressed in personal protective gear to ensure their own safety during the event. This included bullet-proof vests and gas masks. Some protestors were shaken by the view of officers in what they’d like to call, “riot gear.” But Chief Williams was quick to point out that this was just a safety precaution on the officer’s part due to the amount of violence on law enforcement in the recent weeks.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams was calm, cool and collected when updating the media morning and night during the convention, frequently repeating the phrase, “That’s it” to show that the minor problems that did occur where not out of the hands of the officers set to patrol the areas.
The even that garnered the most attention was a protest that attempted to burn a flag during a demonstration. While burning the American flag is not illegal, the person who set the flag on fire also set fire to the pant legs of fellow protestors. Ultimately, 15 protestors were arrested for failure to disperse and resisting arrest. Two officers came out of the scuffle injured, Chief Williams explained the officers had been punched and shoved while demonstrators resisted arrest.
“Right now, I think so far so good,” Chief Williams said during a media briefing. “We are still out there, we are still vigilant to make sure we finish this last day on a positive note. We are asking people if they see something, say something so that we make sure we stay safe.”