Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Agencies share Republican National Convention communications center

TAMPA — In a projection screen-filled room, phones and placards dot 24 long tables. U.S. Secret Service. Department of Homeland Security. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Tampa Electric.

About 60 agencies will convene at this secret location during the Republican National Convention, working side-by-side to improve communication.

The Multi-Agency Communications Center isn't the hub of RNC security decision-making. Instead, it's a place to coordinate between agencies — similar to command centers pulled together when hurricanes hit. However, this time authorities had months to plan, which could be especially useful if Tropical Storm Isaac hits Tampa Bay.

The large screens can project traffic patterns, stream video from the cameras posted downtown and display power grid maps and breaking news reports.

If, for example, protesters have tampered with a fire hydrant, authorities can pull up a map and streaming video of the location and coordinate with public works officials and law enforcement to secure the area and repair the hydrant.

"We'll all be talking to each other, so we cut out a bunch of confusion," Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said Thursday during a tour of the center.

Each agency, including the FBI, will have a separate command center for its decision-making.

Tampa FBI special agent in charge Steven Ibison said Thursday that the FBI's roles during the convention will be intelligence-gathering and crisis management.

So far, the FBI has not gathered information of planned terrorist attacks during the convention, Ibison said.

"At this point, it's just the anarchists' criminal activity," he said.

And though Isaac, the storm passing through the Caribbean, has an uncertain path, the communications center is poised to work emergency management.

FEMA has a "mobile operations vehicle" posted outside the center. State and local emergency management agencies also will have seats at the table.

"From a hurricane standpoint," Gee said, "this is not a scramble for us."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Agencies share Republican National Convention communications center 08/23/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 23, 2012 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]