The security arrangements leading into the 2016 Republican National Convention were just plans before this week, but WAKR's security consultant Tim Dimoff of SACS Security Consulting and Investigations says the Cleveland model may be the plan setting the standard for future conventions.
Dimoff has been on scene throughout the RNC, and tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol the advance planning paid off with only 27 arrests by his count as of lunchtime on Day 4 of the Convention. The worst day came yesterday, when 17 people were arrested following a flag-burning protest outside the north security gate entrance to the secure zone around Quicken Loans Arena.
Dimoff credited law enforcement as well as protesters for the much-calmer activities in Cleveland during the RNC to date; he says the decision to blanket the area with police on foot, bicycles and horses proved valuable and a decision to spotlight those groups of opposing viewpoints to keep them away from each other, while allowing for their First Amendment rights, was a big success.
There is talk of protests and potential riots at the Republican National Convention, and local security experts say the area should be prepared - even into the Akron/Canton area.
Tim Dimoff's SACS Security is monitoring security concerns for private companies for the RNC.
He says what happens in downtown Cleveland in July could very well effect how far protesters go.
"How good is the security up in the convention area, in the greater Cleveland area, how well they manage that," Dimoff tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "can determine how far south of Cleveland protesters or people will go."
Dimoff says there could be "decoy" protesting groups that spread away from downtown Cleveland into the suburbs, and even into Akron and Canton, and that those groups could be testing security outside the convention area.
He says that though there's not a strong worry about a terrorist attack at the RNC, any large political convention is a possible target.