City ready for RNC frenzy, organizers say - FOX 13 News

City ready for RNC frenzy, organizers say

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Tampa Bay is counting down and ramping up preparations for the Republican National Convention.

"We're getting ready. We're going to be buttoned up and fancy for those guests that come," said Rita Wesley of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee.

More than 50,000 people are expected here, and some of the volunteers we talked to will be the first faces convention-goers see when they arrive.

"This is just a unique opportunity for this whole area to show itself to the nation and really to the world, and it's just exciting to be a part of it," said RNC volunteer Dick Caldwell.

"This is pretty insane, to be a part of something so big and it being so close to home!" said Elizabeth Poole, another volunteer.

Volunteers aren't the only ones getting ready for the big event.

"We're looking at a lot of logistics. The heat's going to be a big factor," Larry McKinnon of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.  

Thousands of law enforcement officers from 60 agencies around the state have now signed-on to help.

"Unfortunately mixed in with the thousands of peaceful demonstrators will be those bent on destruction," Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said.

A video made by local law enforcement warns about anarchists outside the convention, who will be bent on causing trouble.

"It is their intent to bait us into using force against them, so they can capture our reactions on videotape and shown to the world as excessive force," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said.

But instead the police chief and sheriff say their response will be strategic, calculated and controlled.

"Our goal is to make it a safe and pleasant environment for those visitors here and really showcase our county and our city," McKinnon said.  

And that, they said, is what they want, so that all those visitors will eventually come back.

"There are new palm trees out on the Bayshore. The bridges look great and there's still more to come," CEO of Tampa International Airport Joe Lopano said.

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