Updated Jul 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Jacksonville sheriff says security for GOP convention is "not achievable"

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Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams told Politico that security plans put forth for the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month are "not achievable" under current time constraints.

Why it matters: The decision to move most of the RNC's programming to Jacksonville last month has already come under scrutiny due to a massive surge in coronavirus cases in Florida. These new security concerns deal another blow to President Trump's hopes for a raucous in-person convention.

What he's saying: "As we're talking today, we are still not close to having some kind of plan that we can work with that makes me comfortable that we're going to keep that event and the community safe," Williams told Politico in an interview published Monday.

  • "We do need law enforcement officers and we’ve gotten commitments, but not to the level that we thought we needed. And a lot of that is people having virus concerns from their communities, and I understand that," he continued.
  • "But there's a lot of things that need to happen: an event schedule nailed down, and being able to sign contracts and spend money so that we can prepare for this event. And none of that has happened yet."

An RNC spokesperson said in a statement:

“The RNC continues to work closely with local leadership in Jacksonville on planning for the convention, including on health and security measures, and the Department of Justice is in the process of allocating millions of dollars in a safety grant. Jacksonville has accommodated upwards of 70,000 people for football games and other events, and we are confident in state, local and federal officials to be able to ensure a safe event for our attendees.”

Worth noting: Williams did not completely rule out the possibility that the RNC will go ahead, despite his serious doubts.

The bottom line: "At virtually 75 days it was an incredible lift, and everything would have to be perfect. And needless to say it has not," Williams said.

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