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The 2024 Republican National Convention will be in Milwaukee July 15-18, 2024.

Secret Service shares RNC security plans, ACLU files First Amendment lawsuit against city

U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle (right) shares security updates for the upcoming Republican National Convention.
Eddie Morales
U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle (right) shares security updates for the upcoming Republican National Convention.

The U.S. Secret Service has announced some of its security plans in preparation for the RNC.

The four-day Republican National Convention in mid-July is expected to bring more than 50,000 people to downtown Milwaukee. At a press conference held June 6, Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle said the agency’s primary concern is safety.

"We are also intentional about creating a plan that minimizes impact to the community as much as possible," said Cheatle. "We seek to lessen disruptions to the public to the greatest extent possible."

The people converging upon the city will include convention delegates, media, law enforcement and protesters. Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman talked about law enforcement’s preparations for demonstrations.

"We do have what’s called Field Force training," Norman said. "We do have training in regards to de-escalation training for the interactions with our public. Just as it’s been stated before we respect the First Amendment rights. We understand that it is important for us to understand that there is going to be protests — how do we adjust and make sure that we’re putting the best foot forward in regards to particular interactions."

But some groups, like the Coalition to March on the RNC, are concerned for their First Amendment rights. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against the city Wednesday arguing that Milwaukee is restricting protest rights during the RNC.

The ACLU claims that the city is unlawfully limiting the locations where protesters can demonstrate. The Secret Service says the city hasn’t yet finalized the spaces that protesters can occupy. Secret Service chief of communications Anthony Guglielmi said that will happen after the agency determines its hard perimeter.

"If there’s a business that we might have to make some tweaks," said Guglielmi. "We might have to move a checkpoint because it’s now going to totally disrupt a restaurant. Those types of detailed decisions are kind of being made at the moment."

Secret Service Director Cheatle detailed how the agency chooses a perimeter.

"We conduct a blast assessment, but we also want to make sure that we’re making as little an impact to the community as possible knowing that there are residences, there are businesses," she said. "We want to make sure that we’re working with those community members. There is a number of factors that we take into play in consideration when we’re determining our perimeter."

The Secret Service plans to announce the final perimeter in two weeks. The RNC begins July 15.

Eddie is a WUWM news reporter.
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