. Pictured, the Body Armor, Gas masks and Helmets I and other members of the Press may have to buy in order to work the RNC Convention Safely .
. Cleveland is preparing to host the Republican National Convention during one of the most tumultuous presidential elections in decades, amid concerns from its police union that the city is not moving fast enough to secure riot gear, train personnel, and ensure there will be enough officers on the street" .
. Tensions are escalating as Donald Trump, the leading GOP candidate, warns of “riots” if he is denied the nomination at the July convention. Some city officials and law enforcement officers are accusing Trump of fueling discontent and inciting violence with his rhetoric . The city is scrambling to build and equip a security force that police specialists said could number 4,000 to 5,000 officers .
. The City has yet to order the necessary riot-control gear, having only recently put the security equipment out to bid . On the list of orders: 2,000 sets of riot-control “turtle suits’’ that include upper body and shoulder protection, shin guards, elbow and forearm protection, tactical hard-knuckle gloves, and 26-inch collapsible batons . Cleveland’s police officers union says the city is moving too slowly, and that even if the riot gear arrives by June as planned, officers will not have sufficient time to train with the new equipment before the convention starts July 18 .
. “We’re under-prepared right now for this,” said Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association. “We are way behind the eight ball. The city has a responsibility to make us as safe as possible. Right now, they are not living up to that' . Cleveland also is ordering 16 police motorcycles, 300 patrol bicycles, 310 sets of bicycle riot control gear, and three horse trailers — as well as 500 interlocking steel barriers that are 6½ feet high and 2,000 shorter steel barriers . “We don’t even have a bicycle unit, and now all of a sudden we’re going to have 300 bikes and no training,” Loomis said .
. The security equipment is being paid for by a $50 million federal security grant to the city to host the convention. A significant portion of the money will cover personnel costs; the city is also obtaining an insurance rider to cover police liability and property damage downtown if there are civil disturbances, according to the Cleveland City Council .
. Meanwhile, it’s unclear if Cleveland will get enough help from out-of-state departments to create the huge security force that is needed. A spokesman for the Chicago police said the department — itself roiled because of a police involved shooting and a rash of homicides — is thinking about pulling out of the convention but has not “officially said no yet" .
Dan Williams, spokesman for the City of Cleveland, would not respond to security-related questions, including those about the police union’s concerns on equipment delays, size of police presence, and training. “We do not discuss training, tactics, staffing, or deployment,” Williams said, referring all security inquiries to the Secret Service . The city and its police force have been coordinating with the Secret Service on security preparations with plans to step up law enforcement presence to handle the large number of expected protesters .
Trump appeared on national television warning of bedlam in Cleveland if he amasses the most delegates and is still denied the nomination in a contested convention . “I think you’d have riots,” Trump said on CNN. “I’m representing a tremendous — many, many millions of people" .
. He said if his supporters feel disenfranchised, “I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen. . . . I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen" .
Full Article: Read: https://www.bostonglobe.com/…/Uar9zK4VoKWLr4Gk2u…/story.html
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