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United States Coast Guard prepares for the DNC

Posted: 7:08 AM, Feb 21, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-21 08:08:46-05

MILWAUKEE — The Democratic National Convention is just months away. The national event will take place at Fiserv Forum from July 13 through the 16.

Right now, law enforcement and first responders from across the Milwaukee area are training and getting ready for the convention that is expected to bring 50,000 people to the Milwaukee area.

"Expect it to be very busy. It's a big event people are going to be out on the water, they are going to want to see it from the water, so just be cognizant of that higher levels of traffic," said Phillip Gurtler, response officer with the United States Coast Guard.

The United States Coast Guard started preparing for the DNC back in September. The event comes during their busiest time of the year. Last year between June and July, the USGC had nearly 400 calls for service.

"People are really realizing Lake Michigan is an outstanding source of commerce and recreation for businesses and for people that just want to go out and enjoy themselves," said Gurtler.

The USCG's main concerns are safety and that no threats are coming through the Milwaukee River. To make sure the event is safe, the Coast Guard is calling in special forces teams from across the county. They are also setting up a second command center.

"One that is focused solely on the majority of the lake so we can continue to have that high standard of search and rescue but also having a secondary command focused solely on the security and safety in that zone for the DNC," said Gurtler.

Final security details have not been released, but the preliminary security footprint includes parts of the Milwaukee River. Gurtler said that means bridges may be impacted during the DNC.

"We haven't quite determined whether or not we are going to leave the bridges up or close them for security, that's one of those things we are deliberating with different sub-committees," said Gurtler.

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