CLEVELAND – There are growing security concerns over the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The RNC doesn’t take place until mid-July, but some say time is running out to properly outfit the cities safety forces.
“Not one of our police officers has been measured for riot gear,” said Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis.“It’s a 90-day turnaround to order equipment, that’s what the manufacturers are telling me directly.”
Loomis says the riot gear will be essential at the convention, with the possibility of up to 100,000 demonstrators from different and/or contrasting groups.
“The RNC’s tend to be a lot more troublesome for the police departments,” said Loomis.
Monday night, Loomis also raised concerns over many logistical issues that have not been clearly defined, from the need for water to restrooms.
He says officers also need additional training.
Highly specialized instructors from federal agencies including FEMA travel to cities in advance of large-scale events like the RNC to help prepare officers.
Loomis said, “I’ve never been to the RNC so I don’t know but I have to take the word of the guys training police across the country for these events… telling us that we aren’t anywhere near where we need to be at this point.”
Fox 8 reached out to city leaders and a spokesperson said they aren’t discussing details at this time.
The city has 50 million dollars in federal security grant money to purchase the equipment but so far public records show only bids and the intention to order “Riot Control Gear, Batons and Accessories.”
“I’m concerned when I hear that obviously,” said Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek, who serves on the Safety Committee.
Polensek says, they’ve been awaiting a security briefing by the city and have even invited the Secret Service, but so far it hasn’t happened or even been scheduled.
He and Loomis both said they understand the need to protect certain details of the security plan, but they also need to know that both the officers and citizens will be safe.
“We passed off on what they wanted, the money and we expect them to do what is necessary to protect people who are coming to the RNC but also the people that are here,” said Polensek.
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