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Secret Service ready for disruptions at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago

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(The Center Square) – As Chicago police prepare for what could be a tumultuous Democratic National Convention in August, the U.S. Secret Service says it is ready.

Dozens of organizations plan to protest in Chicago, which has denied permits for demonstrations near the United Center convention site.

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, an Eastern Illinois University graduate, was scheduled to tour convention venues in Chicago and Milwaukee, which will host the Republican National Convention in July.

“Each city is unique and different, the venues are different, the schedule of events are different, so there are going to be differences that you are going to see between each convention, but for us, security and the security plan remains the same,” said Cheatle.

A recent inquiry by Chicago’s Office of Inspector General expressed concern that current police tactics by the Chicago Police Department could infringe on First and Fourth Amendment rights as they attempt to handle unruly crowds.

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling says about 3,000 officers are undergoing specialized training to respond to civil unrest and possible riots.

“Even if it’s not an act of violence and it appears peaceful but it is a violation of the law, blocking roadways, blocking venues, things of that nature, we will declare mass arrests in those situations,” said Snelling.

Snelling added that any preparations now in place remain fluid, so law enforcement agencies will look at any threats that pop up and address those in planning for DNC security.

The Democratic National Convention will be held Aug. 19-22 at the United Center.

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