(CNN) – The violent protests outside of trump rallies, and chaos at a democratic gathering in Nevada, are raising concerns about both parties’ nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia this summer.
Are convention organizers prepared for possible violence?
Protesters stomping police cars, Smoke grenades, Violence and chaos erupt outside a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque. It’s raising serious concerns as trump readies for the biggest political event of the summer: the republican convention in Cleveland.
Jim Bueermann, of the Police Foundation said, “I think the people in Cleveland are thinking about this. And there’s no doubt in my mind that they are having lots of meetings, doing lots of planning.”
For months, observers have worried about violent protests at both party conventions first in Cleveland, then with the democrats in Philadelphia.
After scenes like this there are new concerns about Cleveland’s readiness. The city has about 12-hundred police officers. But CNN has learned, they’re actively recruiting officers from other cities- and hope to have at least four-thousand officers on the streets for the convention.
They’ve ordered two-thousand new sets of riot gear- including body-armor, hard-knuckle gloves and batons. But the head of Cleveland’s police union says it’s not getting there fast enough.
Steve Loomis, Pres., Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association said, “We still don’t have the personal safety gear that we need. I’m concerned that we’re not going to have enough time to adequately train with the equipment.”
But city officials are confident.
Chief Calvin Williams, of the Cleveland Police said, “I have to tell you: we are prepared.”
Cleveland officials tell CNN: They’ll set up steel barriers – and they have a special route for protest-marchers laid out.
It swings about a-thousand feet from the convention venue, quicken loans arena, at the closest point.
To counter the kind of violence that’s sometimes plagued trump events- the secret service is on the ground in Cleveland and Philadelphia setting up security perimeters around the convention centers.
We’re told law enforcement is working confidential informants monitoring communications, social media messages.
Who are they looking for?
Jim Bueermann, of the Police Foundation said, “Are there anarchists in the group that may attempt to either agitate the participants who are there simply to express their First Amendment rights, to assault the police.”
And one former secret service agent says- there’s a hidden threat.
Larry Johnson, a Former Secret Service Agent in Charge said, “My biggest concern would be a hacker organization taking down the grid or hacking into a critical system and disrupting the event from two-thousand miles away.”
Johnson says he’s not so much worried about hackers taking out the power at the convention centers. He says there are backup systems in place for that. What concerns him is cyber-attacks knocking out traffic lights, other infrastructure in the convention cities and causing a panic.
But he says local law enforcement and the secret service are working on contingencies for those events as well.