Shooting in Baton Rouge intensifies RNC security concerns

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Nearly 30 different agencies are handling security at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Downtown Cleveland is not easy to navigate. With 50,000 visitors attending the convention and hundreds, if not thousands, more in town to protest it, 28 local, state, and federal agencies are handling security.

"Security is important," said the convention's CEO, Jeff Larson, on Sunday afternoon. "They've been planning the security issues here for over nine months. "

Those plans are especially critical and likely fluid, given recent violence in Baton Rouge and Dallas.

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Three officers died in the attack that also left three injured in Baton Rouge.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued the following statement in response to the shooting in Baton Rouge:

"We must stand as one to condemn these acts of violence. My prayers are for the fallen, the injured, and the families affected by this needless tragedy."

Lt. Governor Patrick is among the thousands who will attend the Republican National Convention.

There are travel restrictions on streets, in neighborhoods and in the air.

Cleveland Police are even operating a special tip line for suspicious activity that the agency initiated after the police shootings in Dallas that killed five officers.

"There is going to be plenty of law enforcement downtown, in downtown Cleveland," said Larson. "The neighborhoods are also going to continued to be covered. I feel good about the security plan. "

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Police officers from around the country and federal agents are now assisting Cleveland Police.

The city has an emergency evacuation plan and a specific route for protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights away from the convention center and Quicken Loans Arena.

City and convention planners, along with law enforcement, say they understand the political and racial climate boiling over throughout the country. As a result, they doing everything they can do to plan for the unexpected.

It was a short eleven months ago the first GOP primary debate was held in the same arena where this week Donald Trump will become his party's nominee.

Then, seventeen different candidates were vying for the GOP nomination, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Senator Ted Cruz among them.

Ohio is again taking center stage, albeit under a vastly different political climate than there was a year ago.

"Ohio is always the center of the political universe for presidential campaigns," said Matt Borges, the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. "Cleveland will be ready to put its best foot forward and the commitment from all the folks, the community is very engaged. "

The city is making an effort to make visitors feel welcome. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was filled with volunteer greeters who helped guide arriving passengers to baggage claim and rental cars and even handed out bottled water.

Cleveland is a city that bid for a convention eight years ago, but wasn't chosen. The state hasn't hosted a convention in 80 years.

"We think it's a great time to show the world how Cleveland has changed," said Joe Roman. He's the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and a member of the convention host committee. He told Eyewitness news the city has handled large events before, even if this one "trumps" them all.

"This will be the biggest," said Roman. "No doubt about it. And it will be the biggest for a full week, if not even longer than that. "
Related Topics:
politics2016 republican national convention - rncrepublicanssafetysecurityOhio
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