Tampa, Florida -- The protests currently going on in Chicago at the NATO summit are giving local law enforcement a chance to see what they can expect later this summer when the Republican National Convention gets underway.
About a dozen officials from at least four Bay area law enforcement agencies traveled to the Windy City over the weekend to observe how Chicago Police are handling the demonstrators.
"We've read every after action report on the political convention but there is nothing like seeing an event live and learning from it first hand and being right there and experiencing it," said Tampa Police Spokesperson Laura McElroy from Chicago on Monday.
"This [NATO summit] is the only national special security event where the [U.S.] Secret Service is the lead prior to RNC," McElroy added, making it the perfect learning opportunity.
McElroy is joined in Chicago with Assistant Tampa Police Chief John Bennett and at least one other official from the Tampa Police Department. Officials from the St. Petersburg Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are also along on the trip.
After seeing several people arrested on Sunday, Bennett told 10 News he felt Chicago Police reacted to how he expects local law enforcement will react during the GOP convention.
"The police, they had a very soft presence just in uniform and once they [the protestors] shifted gears, the public safety group shifted gears back and responded to their actions," Bennett said.
Forty-five protestors were arrested on Sunday while four officers were hurt, including one stabbed in the leg.
Bennett stressed for the most part the protesters were orderly and peaceful. He said they generally were limited to a small area, while nearby downtown Chicago businesses carried on like normal.
"There was a lot of affirmation of our planning processes (based on what we saw) which is kind of what we wanted to see," Bennett said.
But one thing he is concerned about, seeing what's happened in Chicago, is how protestors and law enforcement will handle the Florida August weather.
"When I saw the effects of a mild low humidity, mid to low 80's day and the effects it had on the crowd and the effect it had on the public safety groups it gave me great concern because you could probably add 20 degrees to our temperature," he said.
The group is expected to return to the bay area on Tuesday.
The Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin in Tampa on Aug. 27 and bring more than 50,000 people to town.