CLEVELAND - The Republican National Convention is now underway in Cleveland and concerns over terrorism, protests and recent police shootings are prompting unprecedented levels of security as it kicks off.
An entire one-mile square area around Quicken Loans Arena where this convention is being held is ringed in and the reasons are understandable. The rift in this country right now over issues like Black Lives Matter protests, which went on in this city peacefully. Also, the deadly police shooting in Dallas and Baton Rouge have put this city on edge, especially for police.
The president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association has spoken out on what police officers in Cleveland are viewing from recent remarks made from President Barack Obama and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on the police shootings.
“It's deplorable,” said Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association. “The president does have blood on his hands in our opinion. His comments one day after Baton Rouge, the police-involved shooting in Baton Rouge and Minnesota – those comments that Minnesota governor – [they] should be run out of town on a rail for making the comments that they did one short day after those. It's insightful, it validates the false narrative of Black Lives Matter and then they escalate, and this is where we are at.”
Loomis also called on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend the state’s open carry law.
Security presence from Homeland Security, the FBI, the Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police are all out in force throughout the city of Cleveland. What it has led to in conjunction with the protests are roads being blocked at times. We also saw very long lines for both the delegates and media trying to get into arena Monday night.
But RNC delegates from Maryland told us they appreciate the hard work to keep them safe and they are willing to put up with all the delays.
“It's been fantastic,” said Gary Collins. “Honestly, at the end of the day, it’s something that needs to happen. I feel safe, I feel secure, and in today's heightened situation, I feel it's perfect.”
“They have been doing an awesome job,” said Macklee Collins. “Everything has been extremely secure. There has been no issue at all.”
Donald Trump is expected to be in the arena’s convention hall to support his wife, Melania, when she deliveries her address Monday night.