Delegates on Guard at GOP Convention After Baton Rouge Police Shootings

Cleveland police officers outside of the Quicken Loans Arena. (Evan Garcia)Cleveland police officers outside of the Quicken Loans Arena. (Evan Garcia)

Breakfast for Illinois delegates at the Republican National Convention on Monday opened with a moment of silence for the police officers killed in shootings this month.

The shooting of six Baton Rouge police officers on Sunday cast an air of vigilance over the GOP event. A shooting in Dallas on July 7 left five police officers dead.

Illinois State Rep. John Cabello shared safety advice with the delegation. Cabello is a detective currently on leave from the Rockford Police Department while he serves in the General Assembly, 

"When you're going to and from the convention, please be aware of your surroundings," he said. "Look people in the eyes. Make sure they know that you're watching what's going on. If a criminal sees you paying attention, you will probably be less likely to be a victim of crime."

Officers with the Cleveland Division of Police usually patrol on their own or with a partner, but they've adjusted that protocol in the wake of the shootings, according to Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, the department's press information officer.

"From the Cleveland Division of Police, our officers have been on a heightened state of awareness for their own safety and obviously for the safety of the public as well," she said. "The officers are now deploying in partnered efforts."

Cleveland's police department is not alone. Officers from the California State Highway Patrol were seen patrolling the area outside of the Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday, where the convention takes place. Along with law enforcement departments throughout Ohio, the Pittsburgh Police Department has also joined the effort, according to Cleveland.com.

Ohio is an open carry state, meaning anyone who legally owns a firearm can carry it openly with or without a gun license. According to Reuters, Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis requested Ohio Gov. John Kasich temporarily suspend the state's open carry law. Kasich's office responded by saying the governor lacks the authority to "arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or gun laws."

Join “Chicago Tonight” for continued coverage of the Republican National Convention all week.

Follow Evan Garcia on Twitter: @EvanRGarcia


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