After a shooting near Capitol Hill shocked the country on Wednesday, Upstate law enforcement are explaining how they prepare to keep high-profile visitors safe.
Earlier this year, the Greenville County Republican Party hosted their GOP convention at the TD Center. Executive Committeeman Lance Byars said it drew quite the crowd.
"We had Congressman Jeff Duncan come,” explained Byars, “We had Congressman Jim Bridenstine come from Oklahoma come and speak and Governor McMaster as well."
Which means added security. The Greenville Police Department's special unit, the Dignitary Protection Team, was at that convention. Master Patrolman, Johnathan Bragg serves on that team.
"We work with the secret service a lot,” said Bragg, “They kind of instill the different skill sets in the officers as we develop the team."
The team is trained to handle situations like the one that happened in Alexandria Wednesday, where Louisiana Congressman, Steve Scalise was shot by a gunman at a congressional baseball practice.
"It is very unfortunate,” said Bragg, “You never know when an active shooter or when any shooting is going to take place. It's just lucky they had the officers there that were able to respond to that."
He says the team is utilized about once a month for various figures. Sometimes they have days, weeks or months to prepare for each person's arrival or event. They use uniformed and undercover officers working with several agencies at a time.
"We're going to have a lot more people coming to Greenville,” said Bragg, “Not just dignitaries, but high profile figures and people that are going to be here and we're going to utilize the team a lot."
Byars is thankful the only issues they have had to deal with at their events have been protesters.
"It was flawless,” said Byars, “Everything went really well."
According to Bragg, the Dignitary Protection Team trains throughout the year and is used about once a month.
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