Despite Trumped Up Claims, RNC 2016 Security Similar to Past Years

By Published on July 18, 2016

Liberal commentators and protest groups claim police preparations for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio border on the militaristic, but those claims are unfounded.

Liberal media outlet Mother Jones published an article in July outlining the steps Cleveland police are taking to ensure a safe convention. Reporter Brandon Patterson highlighted that the Department of Homeland Security labeled the convention a “Special Security Event.” But Patterson failed to note that this event status is granted to all political conventions since the terror attacks on 9/11.

The Washington Post wrote in May about the potential violence, quoting Ohio’s ACLU State Chair Christine Link that, “Trump set the stage for things to be difficult. They don’t need to be.”

Police preparations for 2016’s conventions, however, are not much different than in past years.

The Department of Homeland Security’s special security event status gave Cleveland a $50 million grant for policing the event. Past conventions in Tampa and New York used the same funds to upgrade a police “control center,” amid other payroll increases.

The City of Cleveland published bids requesting 10,000 handcuffs, 2,000 full-body, bullet proof riot suits, and an additional 300 suits designed for bicycle wear. The city also requested a bid on three “Bearcat” armored transporters designed to haul SWAT-style teams in and out of bad situations. The city was unable to fill this bid, and borrowed an armored transporter from nearby Cincinnati. The city did obtain 2,300 inter-locking steel barricades, which were described by city spokesman Dan Williams as “like a bike rack,” designed for crowd control.

Cleveland also increased the hours its court system will be open, allowing officials to process up to 10,000 arrests a day, and judges from surrounding communities will be bused in to make up for hours. The rest of the grant money will go toward additional payroll. The local Fox affiliate reported Cleveland police are engaged in regular riot training to learn how to handle difficult situations.

Philadelphia’s Democratic National Convention is also preparing for protests. Local airport workers announced they plan to strike during the event, and there was a bomb threat to the African American museum not far from the convention location.

Both the Democratic and Republican 2012 conventions were also deemed “special security events” by the Department of Homeland Security and awarded $50 million each in order to ensure peaceful conventions. The majority of funds in Tampa for the RNC went to beefing up the police force, and the rest of the money went to increased helicopter support over the convention, and an updated command center nearby.

Although some attendees called the police coverage “like a police state,” many more praised the increased visibility of law enforcement, and the decision to provide bottled water and lunches to the protesters gathering in the hot Florida sun. The Tampa Police Department opted to not wear riot gear, a decision the Cleveland department ultimately echoed.

The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012 used its $50 million grant to strengthen its police force, increase hours, update a command center and purchase more bicycles for crowd control. The City of Charlotte passed laws forbidding camping ahead of the Occupy Movement’s “March On Wall Street” protest.

And back in 2008, both St. Paul, Minnesota, and Denver, Colorado received the same grants. The money went to fund riot gear, increase payroll hours and update police command centers in both states. Despite each city seeing 10,000 protesters, very few arrests were recorded.

There are a lot of similarities between the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver and the 2016 Republican National Convention. President Barack Obama faced significant opposition from Hillary Clinton supporters, and pundits questioned if the party could unite and defeat Republicans.

And this year, the Never Trump movement is in the process of attempting to force a vote on the floor of the convention Monday that would enable individual delegates to “vote their conscience” and ignore their state directions. The measure was defeated by the rules committee, but the measure only needs 28 signatures total in order to see a floor vote. If the petition fails to get 28 signatures, the motion will fail.

 

Copyright 2016 The Daily Caller News Foundation

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