I-Team: What’s being done to prevent trouble during Cleveland presidential debate

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating how prepared police are to keep you safe next week when the candidates for president come to Cleveland for a debate.

Some local leaders and businesspeople worry we could see more rioting as we did in May downtown.

We’ve learned law enforcement has been working on security plans trying to be ready for anything surrounding the debate.

Privately, sources admit they’re concerned about the violence in the streets all around the country.

The I-Team has found Cleveland police are teaming with state and federal agencies, and they are already much better prepared than they were in May. At that time, rioting went on for hours.

Sources have told us law enforcement officials have already had drills or exercises, many more officers have gone through training tied to crowd control, and police, next week, will work 12-hour shifts to help keep more officers on the streets.

Nearly four months after the rioting downtown, everywhere you look,  you still find boarded-up windows. So, we’ve learned Cleveland police are taking steps to protect downtown from any more damage. And, they are taking steps to protect other neighborhoods. The security planning involves much more than the area right around the debate.

Councilman Mike Polensek said, “I want assurances the City is prepared.”

He also spoke out about the cost.

Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are hosting the debate. Polensek believes they should cover the cost of the extra security.

“That should be something that Cleveland Clinic and Case should cover in its entirety,” he said. “They wanted it, let them pay for it.”

Cleveland Clinic released a statement saying: “Details are still being worked out. We are working with the city to ensure that overtime and additional staffing requirements will not cause a financial burden to the City. Details about security and cost will not be released until after the debate.”

The Cleveland Police Chief’s office says it does not have any information to release about all of this, yet.

Downtown businesspeople are watching. One of the stores vandalized in May was Corbo’s Bakery. There, on Monday, Toni Anders said from behind the counter, “What happened May 30 just can’t happen again in this city.”

Cleveland is still recovering from rioting and looting, and now has a new determination to make sure it doesn’t happen again with Northeast Ohio on a world stage.

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