What you didn't see on TV from the RNC: Costumes, cops on bicycles, and the commute

Jul 22, 2016

One of the oddities of watching an event like the Republican National Convention on TV is not being able to see and feel the environment.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody is getting back from Cleveland now, where he’s been covering the Republican National Convention. We asked him about the spectacle that is the RNC – and how it all works.

Suits on display at the RNC in Cleveland.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For starters, Carmody and the Michigan delegation weren’t actually staying in Cleveland. They stayed in Akron.

Carmody’s commute to the RNC involved a rental car, a commuter train, and his own two feet. The commute in total took about an hour and a half. He'd arrive alongside many dressed in outlandish costumes.

Carmody said there were around 5,000 law enforcement officers, National Guard members, and Secret Service agents on the ground in Cleveland. He thinks they are likely to thank for the lack of unruly protests in the streets.

“A lot of the city was blocked off with fencing, and so the protesters couldn’t get to a lot of places,” he said. 

"I think that the Cleveland cops diffused a lot of the problems before they developed."

“But probably the most effective thing when it came to diffusing problems with protesters was the bicycle patrols.”

The city of Cleveland had several hundred police officers who would flank protesters on bicycles. When police wanted protesters to not go any further, Carmody said officers would use the bikes like portable fences, to “channel” protesters to a more desirable area.

“I think that helped diffuse a lot of the tension that you might have, say between a heavily armored police officer or a police officer on a horse because they were able to be on the same eye level with the protesters,” Carmody said. “They were able to talk a lot easier and I think that the Cleveland cops diffused a lot of the problems before they developed.”

To learn more about what the RNC was like for an attendee, listen above.


Steve Carmody is a reporter for Michigan Radio. He attended the Republican National Convention.