I-Team: Cleveland police getting strong reactions over photo of officer struggling to get into riot gear

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CLEVELAND – Fox 8 still getting strong reaction to a picture the I-Team obtained that shows a Cleveland officer struggling to fit into his riot gear that the city ordered for the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Union officials say the picture shows the equipment ordered for the RNC does not fit all officers.

Police Chief Calvin Williams says the equipment will fit the officers that are assigned to wear it during the RNC .

But the picture drew criticism from Councilman Mike Polensek.

“I saw the same picture with the 300-pounder and quite frankly I don’t know what a 300-pounder is doing on the the Cleveland Police Department,” Polensek said during Wednesday’s safety committee meeting.

But Police Union President Steve Loomis as upset by Polensek’s comments and immediately fired off the following letter.

Mr. Polensek,

We have proposed a physical fitness incentive during the last three contract negotiations that the City of Cleveland summarily dismissed. Your comments were callous and unprofessional. As you should know, our members range greatly in size, stature, and body types. We have a 6’7″, 270 lb. former pro football player that has NO CHANCE of receiving riot gear that will fit him .

The officer you publicly maligned is a decorated and senior police officer that has devoted his life to this city. You are being sold a bill of goods and you are buying it.

Call your counterparts in Philadelphia to see where they are at compared to us before blindly accepting the word of appointed folks that will ultimately be responsible for their planning failures.

Philadelphia has had ALL their gear for the last 7 months and have been steadily training to help prepare for the possibility of a worst case scenario….That type of leadership is in the best interest of the Philadelphia Police officers, citizens, and protesters alike. The smoke and mirrors leadership we have unfortunately grown far to accustomed to in this city is going to fail us all.

You don’t have to believe me Mike, talk to the cops you know…

Talk to the Sheriff Deputies that have no clue what their role is or no idea why they have not received their gear or any training to date regarding that role. Better yet talk to the dozens of cities that have prohibited hundreds of officers from coming here to help. I guarantee the cops want to come. It is their command staff, law departments and mayors that are looking out for their officers bests interests. Dare to dream!

We need help, not jokes…

Thanks Mike

Steve Loomis

During Wednesday’s meeting the police chief and a Secret Service agent said the city is prepared for the RNC.

“This has been a multi year process for them and we are prepared for this,” said Ronald Rowe Jr. an agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

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