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Additional security would be needed should Jacksonville host Republican Convention

FILE - In this July 21, 2016, file photo Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center left, walks with vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Trump's acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing Democrats and Republicans to take a close look at whether they'll be able to move forward as planned this summer with conventions that typically kick off the general election season. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this July 21, 2016, file photo Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center left, walks with vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Trump's acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing Democrats and Republicans to take a close look at whether they'll be able to move forward as planned this summer with conventions that typically kick off the general election season. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Jacksonville being named as a “favorite” to host the Republican National Convention in 2020, additional security measures would be needed to address the surplus of people that would be visiting the River City.

Security for a national presidential convention isn’t easy. There’s general security, protection of the candidate and expected protests and demonstrations.

“The demonstrations that are going on now may die down a little, however, for every national convention, regardless of party, they’ve got to prepare for that,” said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson. “Who knows how many in light of what’s going on in the world today?”

Jefferson said there are going to be constant meeting with law enforcement not only in Jacksonville but around the country planning for the RNC. He was the spokesperson for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office when the city hosted the Super Bowl in 2005, and he said the two events are similar in the amount of security required.

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“It has the propensity to be a logistical nightmare as far as planning,” Jefferson said. “They can pull it off. They’ve got to solicit help from local authorities, state as well as federal from all over the United States because you have people coming from all 50 states that are going to converge.”

The former police officer added that a major different between the two events is that there were many months of planning ahead of the Super Bowl. With the last minute switch, Jacksonville leaders will only have a two-and-a-half months.

“If it does land here, they’ve got to already be working on it and work throughout the time it takes to get here,” Jefferson said. “A lot of help from a lot of people.”

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The RNC has spent the last week scouting locations after Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C., rejected President Trump’s demand that the convention be allowed to take place Aug. 24-27 without social distancing measures.

The convention could generate at least $100 million in revenues for the host city, perhaps more.


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