The Secret Service in Chicago must handle security for the two party conventions

The Secret Service in Chicago must handle security for the two party conventions

(WASHINGTON) — A Secret Service office in Chicago is responsible for securing both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention, and no stone is left unturned — from large-scale security measures to making sure residents of Chicago and Milwaukee don’t lack for trash pickup. .

The Secret Service’s Chicago field office is responsible for all of Illinois, Wisconsin, the Quad Cities portion of Iowa and northern Indiana, a “huge mass of land,” according to Deputy Special Agent in Charge Derek Mayer, who spoke to ABC News in an exclusive interview.

By law, once a National Special Security Event (NSSE) has been established by the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secret Service becomes the coordinator of the event. Other NSSEs include the presidential inauguration and the State of the Union. There will be five NSSEs this year, one of the busiest.

“It’s unprecedented for a field office to have two NSSE events so close together that were both conventions,” he said.

Mayer said the office has less than 100 agents and most of the agents are working to help secure both conventions where they have been planning since last April.

“In our world, security comes first, but we also don’t want a disruption to the public,” he said. “We want everyone to be able to go about their daily lives while still providing events.”

Part of this is working with the Postal Service, garbage collection services and package delivery services to ensure residents can continue to live as normal.

“One thing we’ve been doing over the last several months is public outreach, community outreach, to make sure business owners and the public are well informed about our expectations and what their expectations are for us,” he said. “So we can avoid as many interruptions as possible”

Mayer said the office worked with state and local police departments, including the Milwaukee and Chicago police departments, to help secure the conventions.

In addition to convention security preparations, the Chicago field office has been busy with day-to-day tasks such as visiting proteges and investigating cyber and financial crimes.

“We are a very active investigative bureau, one of the most active in the United States,” he said. “We open more than 100 investigation files a year. These cases include counterfeit cybercrimes, financial crimes and other types of financial crimes.”

Last year, the Chicago field office’s cyber team says it prevented more than $119 million in losses.

The bureau also does protective intelligence, which means every threat to the current or former president and first lady must be investigated, if it’s in their coverage area.

Mayer said shelter visits have already doubled from last year.

“We have protected person visits, and Wisconsin is a battleground state,” he said. “So we’re constantly getting protected visits there. So last year, the 2023 field office in Chicago had over 80 protected visits. Obviously, we’re going to crush that in 2024.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.