CHARLOTTE, N.C. --
Almost every day, police in Charlotte are getting ready for the Democratic National Convention.
Almost every one of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's 1,700 officers are going through three days of intensive riot training. Police allowed Channel 9 an exclusive look at how they're doing it.
“It's a very controlled, measured response with a lot of practice,” Deputy Chief Harold Medlock said.
Medlock is overseeing the training, which also includes hundreds of officers from nearby police and sheriff's departments.
It’s all very carefully choreographed. There's a reason, for example, why they would move half a step at a time toward a group of protesters.
“The point of some of the tactics and the maneuvers that we use is to allow folks to have the time to do what we're asking them to do,” Medlock said.
Chanting is part of the plan, too.
“We want them to hear us as we move and do the things that we need to do, so you'll hear a lot of verbalization from our officers and one of the things you'll hear is, ‘Move back!’” Medlock said.
Medlock pointed out that this is not all new to Charlotte. Several hundred officers have already been trained in riot control and have been called in to handle trouble in uptown twice in the last five years.
But the DNC is much bigger, and having to train almost every officer has meant taking them away from their regular patrols.
“We are structured so that we have officers that can backfill in the divisions that send officers out,” Medlock said. “Our citizens should see no change in service delivery.”
Medlock said police are doing everything they can to prepare for what will be the biggest event the city has hosted.
“We're going to do everything that we can to make sure that it's a safe and secure event,” Medlock said.
Police said they expect that the federal government will pick up the bill for the riot gear equipment.
Police don’t have a total estimate on how much the training will cost, but a department spokesman said the past four police departments tasked with protecting people at the DNC received about $50 million in grants.
Intensive riot training preps officers for DNC
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