Security for Cleveland’s GOP debate months in the making, FBI says

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CLEVELAND - With the eyes of the world on Cleveland on Thursday, security will be top priority for several local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

The Cleveland Division of the FBI said as soon as they found out the first Republican debate would be here in the city, they immediately started working behind the scenes. From bomb-sniffing dogs to plain-clothed agents in strategic locations in and around Quicken Loans Arena, this coordinated effort has been in the making for months.

From the outside of the stadium, it will appear to be business as usual to the average person, but the FBI , in conjunction with various other agencies, including Cleveland police, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.

On Wednesday, FBI officials said there has not been any intelligence on possible terrorist threats surrounding the debate, but they said they are constantly watching and observing anything that may be out of the norm.

“Our folks work every hard to work with other FBI offices to coordinate with other intel partners to coordinate with our other law enforcement partners, so we are constantly vigilant to make sure this event goes off safely and successfully,” FBI Special Events Coordinator Ben Gessford said.

The FBI has done these things before with the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Marathon and Cleveland Browns games.

This is the perfect reminder for anyone attending the debate or in the downtown area, if you see anything suspicious, report it to the authorities immediately.