Secret Service shows off convention command center

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 1, 2012

CHARLOTTE (AP) — A command center to help monitor security during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte is up and running.
The U.S. Secret Service on Saturday showed off the Multi-Agency Communication Center being used by various federal and state agencies to help coordinate and share information. The center had rows of tables with phones, big screen TV monitors and other equipment.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Max Milien, Jr. says 50 of his agents are assigned to the center. Authorities from other agencies are there as well.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has its own command center to monitor security. The Charlotte police and federal command centers will share information.
There will be some redundancy of information, said Russell Nelson, an assistant special agent in charge.
But authorities want to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
“We want to make sure that the focus is on the event itself and not much on security,” Milien said. “We understand that security is an underlying factor. We want the Democratic process, we want the event to take place and be able to take its course.”
The Democratic convention runs from Tuesday through Thursday. For the first two days, Time Warner Cable Arena in downtown Charlotte will be the main venue. On the last day, President Barack Obama will make his acceptance speech at the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium.
Thousands of protesters are expected. On Sunday, a coalition of 70 groups under the name Wall Street South plans to hold peaceful protests on economic inequality and other issues. The national Occupy movement also has issued a loose call for protesters, as have anarchist groups.
The federal government has given $50 million to Charlotte to help prepare and pay for new equipment, training and officer salaries. The Charlotte police department added 2,400 to 3,400 officers from outside departments to its force of more than 1,750.