CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even though the 2020 Republican National Convention is a year away, the city of Charlotte is preparing now.

Organizers want to make sure the Queen City shines in the national spotlight, and they're asking volunteers to help make that happen.

They held a special training session Thursday night.

"This is not about politics this about the people of Charlotte," said CMPD Chief Kerr Putney.

Hundreds of volunteers answered the call-to-action from Putney and CMPD.

"The more eyes the better. If you see something say something," Putney said.

In the digital age, for the large scale event, protection will even be at your fingertips.

"This is going to a special two-way communication. We're talking about community engagement, and now it's going virtual. We're basically talking about having a cop in your pocket," said Putney.

Authorities say they'll use the 2012 Democratic National Convention as a template. They'll also pull information from previous conventions to ensure safety.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden played a big role during the convention in 2012. The then-retired CMPD homicide detective was in charge of protecting the mayor.

"My role during the DNC was dignitary protection," said McFadden.

He dealt with the inner workings of convention security daily. But that was a different time.

"You look at climate now. What we worry about what I worry about is that lone wolf. It's a time for somebody to make a statement, I'm concerned," he said.

That's why CMPD Ambassador Program Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Decker said it was important to bring people together and address safety.

"Getting a handle of the scope of what's coming to Charlotte," she said.

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