Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drones for security at Democratic convention?

There won't be any drone aircraft flying over Tampa, Fla., during next year's Republican National Convention. But how about a week later in Charlotte?

Tampa police were seeking bids for a package of hundreds of security cameras that included specs for two "unmanned aerial vehicles," according to the St. Pete Times.

The city asked for proposals for two drones that could hover for 20 minutes, fly in 20-knot winds and carry cameras with zoom lenses or thermal-imaging capabilities.

Looking at the drones was intriguing, the Times reported, because they might offer the police some of the benefits of helicopters at a cheaper price.

Eventually, police eliminated drones from their convention shopping list because of the potential cost and possible problems with federal aviation regulations.

In the proposal, Tampa officials also asked for 164 cameras capable of reading a 3-inch-high number at 300 meters; 20 helmet cameras, and six trailer-mounted cameras on booms that can rise more than 20 feet.
Rob Tufano, spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, declined comment on either drones or cameras.

Said Tufano: "This would fall under our protective means and methods category." Jim Morrill
Journalists win settlement over '08 convention arrests

Three journalists arrested covering a protest at the 2008 Republican convention have won a $100,000 settlement from the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the federal government.

The money goes to Amy Goodman, host of the syndicated program "Democracy Now!" and two of her producers.

They sued after their 2008 arrests, arguing that police and other law enforcement officials violated their First Amendment rights.

Goodman's attorney said the Twin Cities also agreed to develop a policy and training for police officers on how to avoid infringing on journalists' rights during protests.

With thousands of protesters expected at next year's Democratic convention, Charlotte police are now preparing.

"We expect to experience demonstrations from participants of many different political stripe and ideologies," says police spokesman Rob Tufano. "We'll be prepared to protect their constitutional right to assemble while maintaining public safety."

He said there will be additional training opportunities for police in the run-up to the convention. Jim Morrill
NRA official: Charlotte convention went smoothly

The Democratic convention won't be the biggest one Charlotte has ever hosted. That distinction goes to the 2010 National Rifle Association, which drew an estimated 72,000 people.

The convention-goers pumped approximately $68 million into the local economy, with 75 percent of attendees from out of town, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. (The NRA also came to Charlotte in 2000.)

So how did Charlotte fare on the hospitality front hosting its largest convention ever, and what can it do to prepare for the Democrats?

We asked Andrew Arulanandam, NRA director of public affairs:

How did Charlotte do? We have zero complaints. Charlotte was a great city to have our event. The people were great to work with. The locals were great in terms of their hospitality. We had, in fact, our largest meeting ever.

What worked well? Only a certain number of cities in the country can accommodate an annual meeting of our size. We require a large exhibit floor. We also require a facility that can seat anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people. I think we used every room in the Charlotte Convention Center. We had a couple of our larger events at Time Warner Cable Arena. I think we sold out a bunch of hotels.

Even for staff - we get very little time to experience a city - we enjoyed ourselves over there. When you got out of work late, there were still places open where you could get a quick bite to eat, get off your feet in a decent hotel room, and get back to work the next morning.

How can Charlotte prepare for the Democrats? I don't see how this will be a challenge for Charlotte. Having been to a number of political conventions, including several Democratic conventions, I think Charlotte can do this easily. Celeste Smith

Kerrigan to Q-Notes: Obama best president for gay rights

Democratic convention CEO Steve Kerrigan told a Charlotte paper that President Barack Obama is friendlier to gay rights than any other president.

"He has done more than any other president for the LGBT community, whether it be repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' or declaring the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional and telling the Department of Justice not to defend it anymore," Kerrigan told Q-Notes.

He also credited Obama with pushing for the James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard hate crimes act.
"I worked in the Senate for 14 years for Ted Kennedy, one of the biggest advocates for the community, and we weren't ever able to get the hate-crimes bill passed," Kerrigan recounts. "The president got it done and signed it. He's the man along with the vice president who we'll be nominating that week, so we're hoping the issues will be really front and center."  


Jak Manson said...

Sometimes things can get out of hand at conventions and that is why they have security. These convention security guards are here to make sure that things are taken care of and do not get out of hand. If things do get out of hand they are here to take care of things.
Jak Manson |