CHARLOTTE -- The Democratic National Convention is less than a month away, and security remains a top issue.
"I'd feel safe going to any convention related event uptown, except when the president is actually going to be there," said one Charlotte businessman who asked not to be named. "That's when a terrorist or whoever wants to do something detrimental would get the biggest bang for the buck."
It might help ease the minds of those leery of attending any convention events, regardless of when or where they are held during the four-day DNC in uptown Charlotte, to know that law enforcement has been preparing for the handling of security for more than a year.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions as National Special Security Events.
In August 2011, the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Domestic Preparedness conducted a three-day training course for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers in preparation for the convention.
Nearby police departments are sending officers to help during the convention, too. Monroe Police Chief Debra Duncan, according to Charlotte's News 14, said that 33 of her officers underwent specialized training in Alabama and have been given specific assignments for the convention.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has beefed up its roster, almost doubling in size. Without giving specifics, police department spokesman Robert Trufano said that there has been much advance planning and coordination, with federal and local law enforcements working in conjunction with each other.
The U.S. Secret Service will be providing security protection for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, their families, former presidents and visiting foreign dignitaries. Private security firms are also advertising their services for individuals or businesses who might feel the need for added protection.
Local gun shops have been notified they should be especially watchful of who wants to buy guns, and who they sell guns to. Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns, is going to increase security around his shop. He noted that someone wanting to buy a gun for someone else is always a problem, however.
The goal is for Charlotte to be safe for business owners, politicians, delegates and all who are in uptown Charlotte during the convention. The convention security plan was released last week citing road closures and checkpoints. The full plan can be viewed online through the Charlotte Business Journal.