Federal, local officials outline Chicago DNC 2024 security strategy led by Secret Service, CPD

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Federal, local officials outline Chicago DNC 2024 security strategy
The Secret Service, CPD officials and Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke about the 2024 DNC Chicago security strategy for United Center and McCormick Place.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Security concerns around the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August brought federal and local officials together Wednesday to discuss strategy and expectations.

While overall security is a joint effort, the main responsibilities will fall to the Secret Service and Chicago Police Department.

When the DNC takes over the United Center in August, it will bring thousands of delegates to Chicago, along with media and visitors from all over the world. Security will be a top concern, with the convention designated a national special security event.

Chicago Mayor Johnson spoke on Democratic National Convention safety Wednesday.

"Since May, the United States Secret Service has been working with our city, state, county, and federal partners to devise a DNC security plan that ensures a safe environment and minimizes disruptions," said Jeff Burnside, US Secret Service.

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The Secret Service will handle security inside the convention; CPD will be responsible for outside the United Center, as well as McCormick Place, with various layers of security perimeters still in the planning stages.

Police will put into practice lessons learned from the NATO summit, which generated large scale protests. Officers are now trained specifically in constitutional policing methods designed to ensure the First Amendment rights of demonstrators coming to the DNC.

"What we will not tolerate is criminal activity. Violence, vandalism will not be tolerated. We will enforce the law to keep the city safe," said CPD Supt. Larry Snelling.

READ MORE: Democratic Party chairs tour Chicago to prepare for DNC 2024

The security plans include accounting for civil disturbances, airborne and hazmat threats, and more.

"We're also planning for impacts to critical facilities, businesses, and neighborhoods as well as alternate routes for motorists and first responders," said Jose Tirado, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

In the weeks and months ahead, the city will be canvassing residents and businesses from the United Center to the South Loop to inform them of the expected impact from the convention.

"Together we are ready to host his safe and secure convention and welcome 10s of 1000s of visitors to the greatest city in the world," said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

While there were no specifics about the security plans, the Secret Service Special Agent in Charge of the DNC made it clear that while the plans are well underway, they will continue to refine them in the coming months.