After civil unrest in Dallas and Baton Rouge, law enforcement was prepared for the worst as the Republican National Convention kicked off in Cleveland, Ohio. Instead, much to their surprise, police were greeted by cheers as they walked the streets of Cleveland. Delegates to the RNC and local citizens lined the streets to show their appreciation for the men and women of the Cleveland Police Department, applauding them and occasionally shaking their hands.
The city of Cleveland has been furiously preparing for what many had predicted could be a bloodbath. From threats to oust Donald Trump as the nominee of the party to Black Lives Matter activists to George Soros financed protesters, security has been a major consideration. Thanks to a $50 million security grant, the city had purchased 10,000 extra sets of plastic handcuffs, 2,500 interlocking steel security fences, and 2,000 sets of riot gear.
Recent planned attacks targeting police in Dallas and Baton Rouge had done nothing but escalate fears for the safety of law enforcement tabbed to work the convention. Trump has taken the lead in denouncing the attacks on police, but President Obama has managed to turn each incident into a political event. In the midst of all this, the people tasked with protecting all lives could not help but wonder what faced them.
However, what they met as they walked the streets of Cleveland this past Sunday had to be a sight to behold. Citizens lined the streets offering a clear and unified show of support, the very thing every officer across this land needs.
There were planned protests, but attendees on both sides were few in number, peaceful, and respectful of the police. “We’re going to allow them to exercise their First Amendment rights in a peaceful way,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said on Sunday about protesters. “For the past eight days, we’ve done that. And we haven’t had any issues.”
On a related note, the leader of the local police union had asked for a suspension of open carry to ensure the safety of convention goers. John Kasich denied the request saying it was not in his power to comply with that wish. Guns were evident among both conservative bikers and even a few anti-Trump protesters, yet peace reigned over the city.
The city isn’t out of the woods, but for now, it seems some common sense has returned to the land. To ensure public safety, the Cleveland police have asked for those in attendance to keep a sharp eye out and to report anything suspicious.