Law enforcement showcases RNC security vessels

1:11 PM, Aug 7, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Video: Law enforcement showcases RNC security vessels

Laura Byrne Video Stories
More Laura Byrne Stories

Tampa, Florida -- The Republican National Convention will be the largest maritime security effort the area has ever undertaken, Tampa Police said Tuesday.

The convention site is creating a unique challenge because most of it and its neighboring venues are surrounded by water, but law enforcement tell us it's a challenge they're ready for.

"We had to reach out to local partners, partners statewide to make sure we have the staff to implement the security plan to keep everybody safe," said Corporal James Reiser, with the Tampa Police Department's Marine Unit.

Cpl. Reiser says 21 agencies are assisting patrols on the water during the RNC and at any given time during the event, there will be 150 officers patrolling the channels and waterways in the downtown area.

Photo Gallery: RNC water security

The U.S. Coast Guard established seven Federal Security Zones in the waters around the Tampa Bay Times Forum and Tampa Convention Center.

On Tuesday, local law enforcement gave the media a look at the vessels and technologies they'll be using during the RNC.

Law enforcement will be able to keep an eye under the water, on the water and over the water using equipment like sonar, night vision and infrared cameras.

"Before I can see it with the naked eye, I can see it with the infrared," said Deputy Paul Shute, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, as he pointed to the screen showing how they can detect someone hiding under a bridge or even on a balcony of a waterfront building.

Some of the boats are even able to withstand unruly weather.

"If a severe thunderstorm comes through during the RNC, we should be able to maintain some presence on the weather with this boat,' Cpl. Reiser, explaining the capabilities of some vessels they'll be using.

While commercial vessels will still be permitted to travel their typical routes, they will have to first get permission and will be subject to inspection.

Recreation boaters will also be banned from several zones while the Convention is in session.

See Also: RNC Federal Security Zones for Boaters

All vessels will be subject to a search at checkpoints if entering the Federal Security Zone during passable times.

Law enforcement warn boaters to be prepared for delays if they plan on boating in the area of the RNC.

"Boaters will be searched, vessels will be searched, that may be with trained K9 units. We will not allow weapons of any kind on board and once you are cleared, you will be escorted, no stopping, no loitering, no anchoring, no mooring," explained Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Judy Silverstein.

Absolutely no boaters will be allowed in the Garrison Channel in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum during the week of the RNC.

The Coast Guard says you can expect to see barriers go up in the Federal Security Zone on Saturday, August 25th.

Most Watched Videos