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News :: DNC : DNC : Environment : Human Rights : Organizing
Ttranscript of the DNC Security Plan As Presented to the Boston City Council
23 Jul 2004
This is a transcript of the security prep plan as presented to the Boston City Council earlier this year. It breaks down the security zones and who's in charge of what.
My name is superintendent Robert Dunford, and I am charged with the responsibility for security planning for the Democratic National Convention. Every city agency, but in particular public safety agencies…will have two parallel and simultaneous missions. The first will be providing normal emergency and non-emergency services to the city of Boston. The second parallel mission will be security for the convention. The first slide I’d like to show you if we could just go to the map.

The police department and fire and EMS have already been planning for 16 months about how we are going to provide the city with security for the convention. For security purposes, we’ve divided the city into zones.

Zone A is the Fleet Center zone. Now under the national special security event designation, the secret service is responsible for design and implementation of the security center and intelligence relative to the protections of the principals of the convention. The FBI is responsible for crisis management and responding to any particular threats, and the Federal Emergency Management Association is responsible for the preparation and mitigation of any major crisis that occur. The Boston Police Department will report to those three agencies under the National Special Security Act, and the Massachusetts State Police are our principal partners in that. So Zone A is the Fleet Center and that is under the responsibility of the Secret Service.

Zone B is the security zone, the hard security zone and soft security zone which we will explain a little further. The hard security zone is under jurisdiction of the Secret Service, the soft security zone is under jurisdiction of the Boston Police Department, with the cooperation of the Secret Service for activity that will affect the security.

We have divided the rest of the city into zones mainly for the deployment of officers. Zone C will be the North End, the Financial District and Boston Common. Zone D will be the West End, Beacon Hill, coming down Beacon Street to the Charles River. That will be under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts State Police. Zone E will be the area running from Arlington Street to Mass. Ave., from Columbus to Beacon Street. This is really the hotel district. Approximately 90% of the delegates attending the convention will be housed in hotels in the city of Boston, with 20 minutes walking distance from the hotels to the convention. We are also using Northeastern University dorms and Boston University dorms. Zone F is the staging area, because of restrictions of parking and space, our officers will be staged and brought in to the zone they are assigned to. Zone H is all hotels. We will provide security for all the hotels, and that security may be one officer on a 24 hour basis, to a full squad at designated areas. The rest of the city is what we call Zone G, and that will be under, there will be a deputy superintendent in charge of each of the rest of the city’s district during the 12 hour period of the convention, so we’ll have command and control throughout the entire city.

The city will be operating under what’s known as a unified command center. There will be a major communication center, and then each agency will be run with its own command center. We will be bringing in, besides Massachusetts State Police, we will be bringing in officers from outside cities and towns, in particular from MLink and North Star which are conglomerations of departments that come together for tactical training. We will bringing them in to support our organization.

Boston Police Department has approximately 2,250 officers. We can deduct those officers who will be assigned to the neighborhoods, and maintaining services of those neighborhoods. Obviously there is a gap that is being filled by the Massachusetts State Police as our primary partner. We were also looking for the assistance of the Massachusetts National Guard to assist us in the support and technical areas­ that discussion is ongoing. They would have no law enforcement role, I want to assert that the National Guard would have no law enforcement role. They would only provide support. We also have a commitment to traffic, we have a commitment to the buses
that will shuttle the delegates to their locations, and patrols throughout the city, especially in downtown areas.

This is a slide showing the hard and soft security zones. The only differentiation between the hard and soft security zone is that in the hard security zone you will have to be credentialed and ticketed to enter it, and you have to go through a magnetometer. Again, when we look at possibilities of probabilities of threats, we try to think of ways the possibilities won’t become a probability, so I have a restricted zone that’s only accessed by tickets or credentials, then we have a magnetometer for weapons, and then you have strict control of access to anyone going into that zone, we begin to deal with any possible threats.

The soft security zone is that area from Canal Street, including Canal Street, west to Merrimack Street, and from the south side of Causeway Street to Charter Street. The only restriction on that zone, in that area, is vehicle restrictions. You will be free to go to restaurants, bars, stores, businesses, free access, we will not stop anyone entering into that zone, we will not ask questions of anyone entering that zone. We will not attempt to search anyone entering that zone. It will be a free access zone, anyone who wants to demonstrate in that zone can demonstrate right up to the security perimeter on Causeway Street. No one will be allowed to go further than the south side of Causeway Street, unless you have a ticket to go into the hard security zone.

Now much has been in the press about a first-amendment zone. Anyone in this city who wants to come to this city and lawfully demonstrate will be allowed to do so. If they want to go to the Common they will have to go to the Parks Department and obviously get a permit, but they will be allowed to do that process in the same manner, we will not make any changes to any city rules as to how people get permits. If they want to protest anyplace else in the city, they are going to be free to do that. The city of Boston, the police department have had a history of high tolerance for Civil
Disobedience. We will continue that process for the Democratic National Convention. We are not looking to create the LA situation, we want people to be free to come and voice their opinions and do so in a free and open manner.

We will set aside an area, and the location of the area is under discussion for a number of reasons. One is some maintenance issues around North Station because of the small footprint, and then there are issues that the ACLU has and the National Lawyers Guild has as to what do you mean by sight and hearing, and we’re having a meeting with them in an attempt to get to equal ground where everyone can be free to agree and disagree. The only difference between that and demonstrating anywhere else in the city is that the city will provide that area, that location with a stage and a PA system in the process of a lottery. So people will know when they have access to that stage and that location. If no one wants to use it, it’s there. If people want to use it, it’s there. A lottery will be given as to the time, and they can put as many applications into the lottery as they want, there will be a random drawing. And the only difference between demonstrating there and say two lots over is the city will provide you with a stage and a microphone, a PA system, so you will have access to the delegates.

We are really trying to make this as open as possible. We know that we are going to have a lot of groups coming in that wish to express their opinions and policies about how to run the government. We want to give them a free an open atmosphere to do so. We understand that there will be some direct action civil disobedience; we will deal with it, but again we have a history of tolerance for civil disobedience. We will not tolerate any violence against property or persons. Anyone attempting to come in for violence will be strongly met.

Now there are seventeen subcommittees who have been working basically since January 2003 in planning the immense amount of work that has been done and there's still work that needs to be done. Such things as fire safety, where is the equipment for all the zones. Escorts, making sure we have the transportation issues. Each committee is working and will continue to work through the convention, and after the convention is the auditing work.

Transportation, the Orange Line will be express from Haymarket to Bunker Hill Community College. It will not stop at North Station. It will be an express from Haymarket Station to Bunker Hill and it will go back to Haymarket, again for security issues, and also construction issues -- they are still in the process of building a superstation at North Station. The Green Line will stop operating in March of this year. The reason for that is they need to complete the new tunnel. Right now for North Station you go above ground. The new system will be underground. They have to finish the connection that’s on Martha Way to the new station, that hasn’t been completed. To do that, they need to stop the overhead train.

They will be running a bus shuttle from Lechmere down O’Brien Highway, down Martha Way and Lomasney Way, it will then turn on Causeway Street and allow passengers to disembark at North Station. For the convention, that shuttle will come down O’Brien Highway down Martha Way, then down Merrimas Street, it will allow passengers to disembark at Haymarket, it will then go up to Government Center, it will then go to Cambridge street, over the Longfellow Bridge and back to Lechmere. Instead of a two-way route like the first part, it will be a one way route. To allow traffic into Longfellow Street into the hospital area, the doctor’s offices, on the right hand side of our security line, we are going to be maintaining an open traffic lane for buses and private vehicles going into that area, or who need to get up to Cambridge Street. So we are trying to make accommodations. People have to understand there will be some inconveniences, some delays, but we are trying to accommodate that. The reason for that is we know at Dana Farber there are 700 people a day who go to chemotherapy. We know there are over 10,000 outpatients for the medical facility. We are planning to accommodate those people. They will have access to all the medical facilities or whatever else.

A decision has not been made by the MBTA on how they are going to deal with the commuter rail coming into North Station. The general manager Michael O’Hearn is working on that. I think they are coming to a conclusion of what they want to do. However that works out, we have a secondary plan to deal with whatever decision he makes on how we are going to move people in and out of that area. UPDATE: Read the MBTA's PDF about it for more information

You have to understand when we look at a security plan, we look at every possibility and every option, and we build a scenario and game out various sequences on what could happen and when. There is no plan to close I-93 North and South. Now if there is a realistic credible threat, then obviously we plan to deal with that. The only thing we are ogoing to close is the I-93 connector between Leverett Circle and the Fleet Center because when it comes out by Norht Station it is within 40 feet of the station, and that is a security risk. And what will probably happen is people who want to go south down Storrow Drive will have to go north and turn around.

Now we are also starting a media campaign to get information out to the Greater Boston area about the impact of traffic that will take place. The closures and restrictions, bus lanes, we want to get that information out. For example, we know that 60% of traffic on Storrow Drive flows to Logan Airport, so if we can relocate that traffic off of Storrow Drive onto I-90, we’ve eliminated a tremendous amount of traffic on that road.

Everything else relevant to transportation is predicated upon decisions that are made by security people in terms of how we manage it. I can tell you, on Boylston Street and Newbury Street there will be no parking. We are working with UPS, Fed Ex other delivery services as to how they can deliever packages in there without major problems. For example, in the soft security zone, we have to allow street cleaning, trash pickup, vendor services. We are setting up schedules so that we can get those services in there, but at the same time maintain the sterile zone in the convention center. We are working very closely with the downtown business association to try and mitigate their concerns.

When we talk to people, we tell them there will be inconveniences, but we are trying to minimize the inconvenience. It does us no good as the city and police department to close the city down. We want the delegates to experience the environment of a national convention. There are security concerns, but I think that our plan will allow anyone who wants to take place in that, will have the opportunity.

Just an aside ­ during the event, the weekend prior the Red Sox plays the Yankees, not the best series for us to have coming into town, but it will happen. Saturday night we have the media party in the convention center, 15,000 media people. Sunday night the city is planning a kickoff event in City hall plaza. And every night after the convention there will be private parties and some DNC related parties throughout the city that we have to plan for, and I found out yesterday that Senator Lynch is throwing a clambake for 5,000 of his closest friends that we now have to provide security for, so as these things come in to us, and a lot of them come in late, we have to be very flexible as to how we adapt our plan.

The basic plan is what I’ve outlined to you: The city will remain open, and anyone who wants to participate, can. Anyone who wants to demonstrate lawfully, can. If you come looking for violence, you will be met quickly and sternly. Let me make this point very clearly. We will not tolerate physical violence to property to physical violence to another person. We will tolerate dissent, and a certain level of civil disobedience. But that’s been the way we’ve always operated. I think we have a good plan, there are still some things that need to be worked out, but we’ll be dealing with that.

Councilor Feeney asks about services in O’Neil Building: Any public service in the O’Neil Building will be moved… possibly to the Kennedy Building….

Councilor Feeney asks: Is there a way to allow protests the opportunity but restrict certain areas, so we don’t disrupt traffic flow?

We have a constitutional amendment here. If a person wants to lawfully demonstrate they have the right to do that, and we are going to accommodate that right. Now there are some people who feel the best way to get their message out is some kind of direct action, and that might be sitting in an
intersection. If we can route traffic around it, then it’s totally within our mission to do that. If we cannot then obviously we have arrest people. There are two types of direct action. One is planned, where people will apply for a permit and tell us they are going to do this, or they are going to do that, and we know what’s going on. The spontaneous stuff is probably going to be the one that’s most challenging and disruptive to the traffic flow of the city. Like say some people decide they are going to block the Callahan tunnel. Well, they are not going to be able to do that. We’ll take the necessary steps to prevent it. … There’s always a time and a place and a manner to do this, the timing of it, the location of it, and what are they doing there. Just sitting down and holding arms, we are not going to get too excited about it. But if it’s a major protest blocking a major artery, obviously we will deal with it.

Feeney ask about the national guard?

The federal guidelines are that department can request certain assets, for example K-9 units. Say we need x number of dogs, we don’t have them can you supply them… We as a city have to be very specific as to what services we’re asking for, and what we require.

In response to more questions, he says the city is required to reimburse State Police for services, etc. Also says that Secret Service automatically assigns a detail to certain prominent people like past presidents and first ladies by federal statute.

re: Secret Service When you are looking at the whole city, it’s a very small part of the city. The decisions in the major part of the city will be made by the Boston police.

How much extra money will this cost?

Our goal is that this will not cost the city any money. Unfortunately every time I turn around I have somebody else asking me can you support this, can you support this. Some things I cannot, but we are working with in the budget to try to keep things under the budget cap. Whether we will be able to do that still remains to be seen, there are a number of unanswered questions here…

Arroyo asks: What is the budget?

It’s 25 million dollars… My orders are not to spend any city money… Right now we think we are able to do that, we are committed to finding in-kind donations, we are looking for economies of scale, to make sure we are getting the best prices for anything we are getting. Support includes all the equipment, overtime for officers, and all the medical services we supply, other city agencies, state police, and the outside agencies, correctional services, DYS…

Arroyo asks: Will City Hall be closed?

We will ask at City Hall for people to show IDs, coming in, like the Patriots march, city hall was open, they were allowed in, if they started wandering around, they were asked to leave. City Hall will be opened, but obviously there will be some increase in security… At a public hearing I would rather not get out with specific numbers.

Yancey asks about “staging areas for demonstrations” and the lottery system.

Just a preface, we haven’t come to a conclusion about where that staging area is going to be, obviously we have a location that we would like to have it in. The ACLU and others would like it closer to the security zone. We are actually in the main access in terms of getting in the security zone, we have to have people go through magnetometers… If you remember back in LA what happened there is they created a first amendment zone that was so far away from the Staples center that prior to the convention a judge asked them to move it up. There was also an opinion that that was the only place you could demonstrate in. We want to avoid that, so as you saw in the soft-security zone, anyone can have access to the security zone, and they will have access right up to the fence, and if they want to hold signs or have a bullhorn, that’s perfectly legal, we are not going to interfere with that at all. As a matter of fact, we are expanding the sidewalk an extra 10 to 12 feet. The only purpose of this location with the stage and the PA system is if groups want to have specific times, they can go in, it will be a lottery system, you can put your name in, you can put it in as often as you want, and we’ll randomly pick times and that’s your time, and you have
say its an hour, that hour you have exclusive use… It’ll be managed by the Boston Police Dept., we’ll bring our community service people to manage that. We feel that they have the best skills in dealing with neighborhood groups. We would like a third-party involved in the lottery system, so that we are not inovled in it, we don't want people saying we fixed it, but you can put your name in as many times as you want. We are not intersested in whether you are for this side or this side, if you want to avail yourself of that location, you can. But if you want to go protest down on the Ccommon, the only thing you have to do is go to the parks department and ask for a permit, because that is required by state ordinances. But if you want to walk up and down Boylston Street for a sign, that’s perfectly legal too.

Yancey asks about “cultural sensitivity” among officers.

The Boston Police department is, I have control over that. And given the mix of officers, I cannot nor would I say I only want a certain race, sexual preference, but we’ll just take the normal mix of officers coming in. We have officers who speak every language, we have bi-cultural and bi-lingual officers, and they will be in the mix. If we identify a protest group who have a language issue, then obviously we will move officers in who speak that language. The state police are coming from all over the state, but the boston police department we began a new service training program for two days just dealing with these issues…. We are really stressing that anyone can lawfully demonstrate anywhere in the city, as long as they obey the law, so we will train probably over 1500 officers just on that training segment alone. We have a master training plan for 5 pages that says every piece of training we’ve done with the dates, there's a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes you never see.

Will we call upon other cities and towns to supplement the BPD?

On the federal side, we have the Secret Service, the FBI, the Dept. of Defense, the ATF, the FAA, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Safety Administration. On the local side there's the Boston Police Department, the State Police, the MBTA police. We are asking towns to send in 30 officers
or more. We are looking to bring in 30 officers as a platoon. Instead of bringing in 3, 4, 5 officers say from Dedham or Quincy, we’re asking can you give us 30. That’s why we are looking at NIMLEC and Northstar, which are conglomerations of agencies with tactical teams and K-9, we are looking at them, because they do so much training together. They will all be cross-trained with the boston police and state police so that everyone is operating on the same page. They have to agree to our use of force rules, and they have to agree to our rules of engagement. If they don’t agree to that, they are going to have to leave… We are looking for command and control of all the officers we have.

And will you actively engage with Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers and specific agencies on sensitivity issues?

MAMLEO hasn’t addressed any issues with us, I haven’t identified any issues.

tape shut off...

Councilor Turner asks about protest stage

The question is what is meant by term “sight and hearing?” We believe the issue is within the definition of sight and hearing. They will have immediate access to every delegate getting off the bus… There is no place other than the side streets where 7,000 people can be. They are going to have greater access to the delegates. If we moved it right up to Causeway Street, we would have some issues about how close they are to the delegates… They would have to go through the magnetometer… The goal is to come up with a solution that is mutually agreeable. It may go to
arbitration… We have been totally transparent with both the ACLU and the NLG, knowing they do not represent any individual groups.

Other random notes:

McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts in the Fleet Center will be open.

Hooters will be open for business.

We will not be hiring private security.

Private parties are not our concern.

The Associated Press has rented vans, they will come through the security bays.

Not able to get on one of the shuttles without badges.

Different strata of security levels.

Secret Service will deal with credentials inside.
See also:

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