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Philadelphia Officers 'Prepared' to Keep Democratic National Convention Safe

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated 
Police block traffic as protesters march in the street Sunday ahead of Monday's start of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.Bryan Woolston / Reuters

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Officials in Philadelphia said Sunday that they're prepared for any security threats that might come along with thousands of people arriving in the city for the Democratic National Convention.

"Our officers are prepared, they're trained" to deal with the 6,000 people expected to attend the DNC and the thousands of protesters expected on city streets, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Sunday. The convention to nominate Hillary Clinton kicks off Monday.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross said that some of his officers were sent to Cleveland to observe security strategies during last week's Republican convention and that the force had a "comprehensive plan."

Ross said there have been no credible threats tied to the convention. "We're cautiously optimistic that things will go well," he said.

"We would be remiss if we didn't take appropriate measure in light of what has gone on in the past couple of weeks," Ross said in reference to two deadly attacks on U.S. law enforcement officers and terrorist attacks overseas.

He said additional barricades were set up in Philadelphia up after a truck driver plowed through a crowd of people in Nice, France, this month.

"Some of the planning didn't change that significantly, but the world changed," Ross said.

But officers will mostly be in "soft clothes," Ross said, adding, "We'll be a lot more patient and tolerant with many of the protesters and demonstrators."

He said 50,000 people had applied for demonstration permits for each day of the four-day convention but that the number could decrease because of scorching heat or increase with people who hadn't registered for permits.

Protesters were already out Sunday in spite of temperatures in the 90s. Ross said there had been no arrests or citations.

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Kenney said: "Our goal is to not arrest anyone.

"When it comes to protesters, delegates, citizens, elected officials — we need to come together in a unified way to make this country move forward, and that's what we're looking forward to doing," said Kenney, a Democrat.

"It is very exciting to see what's going to happen in Philadelphia with this historic happening that's going to result in the first woman president of the United States" he said.

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