DNC security challenges include road closures, protests; CPD say many lessons learned from NATO 2012

Craig Wall Image
Friday, April 5, 2024
DNC security challenges include road closures, protests
A classified meeting on security for the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago was held Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Federal, state and local law enforcement gathered in Chicago Thursday for a classified meeting on security for the Democratic National Convention.

The four hour meeting was held at Soldier Field, and was designed to help prepare for any potential problems or contingencies that could arise during the DNC in August and to ensure every agency knows its role.

"Our goal is to provide a safe and secure environment during the DNC, while also minimizing disruptions to daily life," said Jeff Burnside, US Secret Service DNC coordinator.

Those disruptions will include security-necessitate road closures around the United Center. Authorities plan to go door-to-door to inform residents and businesses that could be impacted.

It will also mean dealing with protesters who are planning to demonstrate during the convention. Police noted they have worked well with organizers of recent Gaza marches, and officers are receiving specific training in constitutional policing in preparation for the convention.

"We understand the First Amendment, we welcome First Amendment activity and demonstrations as long as it's peaceful; we're not going to tolerate violence or destruction of property," said CPD Counterterrorism Chief Duane DeVries.

Chicago police are in charge of security outside the United Center and McCormick Place, where related events will be held. The Secret Service will handle security inside the United Center, and the FBI will make available any and all resources that might be needed.

"National assets, the hostage rescue team, any asset that the FBI has is available to mitigate threats here in Chicago for this event," said Chicago FBI Special Agent in Charge Wes Wheeler.

CPD learned many lessons from other security events like the 2012 NATO summit.

"We had a lot of good intelligence coming in about NATO. There was mistakes made during NATO too, which we have learned from now there's mistakes made obviously during the George Floyd era. The Police Department learned from that, we train on it we get better," said DeVries.

Thursday's exercises are part of a continuing and evolving security preparation plan for a convention that is a little over four months away.