The area around the Republican National Convention site in Cleveland increased security measures Friday to thwart a similar attack to what occurred in Nice, France Thursday, adding concrete traffic dividers and tall metal fences.
According to Reuters, security experts said police, U.S. Secret Service agents and other law enforcement officials have viewed vehicles – similar to the truck that plowed through a crowd during Bastille Day festivities in Nice killing 84 revelers – as a potential threat since the early stages of planning for the convention.
However, the decision to add the protective barriers around the Quicken Loans Arena was taken before the attack. Ron Rowe, a high-ranking agent with the Secret Service, said Tuesday that some of the barriers would be going up that day, according to Reuters.
Security officials have mostly focused on stopping a car or truck bomb similar to one that hit the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma City federal office building in 1995.
“A vehicle-borne attack is always something you’re concerned about,” Jason Porter, vice president for the central region of security provider Pinkerton, said.
Officials haven’t said whether the Nice attack had altered their plans for Cleveland, but did confirm earlier in the week that the Dallas police shootings did.
Police Chief Calvin Williams noted the city had changed its security plans in light of last week’s murder of five police officers in Dallas but said he would not elaborate for obvious reasons.
Williams said planning has been exhaustive and “Cleveland is prepared. We invite people to come here enjoy the convention, exercise your constitutional rights and we’re here to assist you in doing that.”
The 74 different agencies providing security will be overseen and coordinated by the US Secret Service. “I don’t sleep well to begin with,” said Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy. He added that when there is an event the size of a convention, with all of its tension and dynamics, an emergency is unavoidable.
“Every event has some incident. The key is: do you have a good plan in place? Do you have good leadership that can adapt and be flexible to whatever is thrown your way? And I’m confident that here in Cleveland we have that,” Clancy said.