CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The United States Secret Service, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and North Carolina State Highway Patrol released security restrictions and transportation plans Wednesday morning for the Democratic National Convention.
Access to the John Belk Freeway between Interstate 77 and Independence Boulevard will be shut down starting at 9:30 a.m. on September 6, the last day of the DNC, according to the press release.
Three vehicle checkpoints also will be set up near Bank of America Stadium that Thursday where President Obama is expected to deliver his nomination speech.
Parking restricted areas will be posted with “Emergency No Parking” signs. Disabled or abandoned vehicles within these areas will be towed and stored at owner expense. Fencing, other physical barriers and uniformed law enforcement officers will be used to enforce vehicle and pedestrian restricted zones, according to the press release.
• East Trade Street from North College Street to North Myers Street
Over the past 18 months, CMPD hard remained largely silent about security measures.
“This is a massive undertaking,” Chief Rodney Monroe said Wednesday morning during a press conference.
Monroe said law enforcement agencies from across the country are helping in the security efforts, as well as the North Carolina National Guard.
Police will be protecting up to 1,400 events around the city during that week, including CarolinaFest 2012 on Labor Day and the March on Wall Street South protest on September 2.
They’ll also enforce the new measures associated with the DNC designation as an “extraordinary event.” It allows police within a selected area to stop pedestrians for having any item on a long list: including chains, backpacks, aerosol containers, masks, police scanners, pepper spray or rocks.
“There will be additional checks and balances put in place as it relates to what people may or may not be able to bring into that event,” said Monroe.
He said that officers have been trained to use common sense when enforcing the restrictions.
“We're asking our officers to be very diligent about certain types of items. You won't see wholesale stopping and searching people's backpacks or coolers or things of that nature.”
The “extraordinary event” area is different than first expected. It covers roughly 60 percent of uptown, and stretches from Gateway in the north to Carolinas Medical Center in the south. Its western border is Morehead Street and runs east to CPCC.
Monroe also said police officers will focus on the three schools in uptown that remain open during the convention. They include Irwin, Metro, and First Ward. Monroe said police cruisers will likely escort school buses in uptown.