Florida Highway Patrol gears up for RNC - FOX 13 News

Florida Highway Patrol gears up for RNC

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

We're days away from the opening of the RNC and the Florida Highway Patrol is ramping up to protect the dignitaries and special guests. They'll need extra protection, and that requires more manpower.

Expect hundreds more State Troopers on our highways throughout the week of the RNC.

"The Florida Highway Patrol has almost 200 troopers assigned to the Troop C area as a whole, on a routine basis, and we're also bringing in additional resources from throughout the state of Florida," said FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

He likened their coverage to how they react when we're in the throes of a hurricane.  So when this political storm hits, he said, they'll be ready.

From the airports, to the bay, to our bridges, it takes an incredible amount of manpower to police each area before any dignitaries are allowed to pass through.

"It all depends on the level of the dignitary, of course. When the President comes in, a lot of things stop and shut-down," said Gaskins. "Infrastructure throughout the Tampa Bay area, where the RNC is going to be affected, whether it be roads, buildings and so forth, all that stuff is being monitored, it has for quite some time."

It's a collaborative effort from the Secret Service on-down.

"Feds trump the State," Gaskins laughed.

The FHP will be assisting the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department.

"Local law enforcement, state law enforcement, federal law enforcement, working together, to make sure the event goes off without a hitch," Gaskins said.

And they'll be making sure dignitaries get to their destinations safely. You can forget about any time off during the RNC.  Troopers, like all local law enforcement, are locked-in for the duration.

"Days off, leave, has been canceled, has been canceled for quite some time, to make sure that we have adequate staffing," Gaskins said. "That we've got the manpower, on-hand, at a moment's notice, that if anything happens, we can respond."

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