EXCLUSIVE: Safety Chair talks $50 million for RNC
Cleveland City Councilman spoke exclusively with WKYC Channel 3’s Hilary Golston about how $50 million in federal funds for the Republican National Convention will be spent.
This is the first time Councilman Matt Zone has spoken with the local media about the specifics of where the federal funds will go, ahead of an April 6 hearing.
Zone told Golston $20 million will go toward food, housing, material and equipment for officers.
The other part, $30 million, is expected to be spent on salaries, overtime and travel. Officers from other municipalities may have a base rate of pay higher than what Cleveland officers make, which is expected to increase the cost.
Zone says police will work eight-hour shifts and then four hours of overtime.
After GOP front-runner Donald Trump said there could be “riots” if there’s a contested convention, Councilman Zone said he got questions galore from national media.
“Our commander in chief should not be divider in chief,” Zone said. “I'm really concerned about the rhetoric coming out of his mouth."
It was said and the city must be ready.
"It's top of mind for everyone it seems. There's, I think, a little bit of anticipation, but not only anticipation... maybe a little bit of anxiety," Zone said. “The world's going to descend upon Cleveland. They want to know -- Is Cleveland ready?"
Zone said Cleveland police have an approximately 1,600-person police force, 600 of them would be dedicated to policing the RNC.
The remaining 1,000 will continue to work in neighborhoods, so that there's not a decline in coverage.
There will be 2,100 police officers across the State of Ohio who have committed to help out during the RNC, creating a total of 2,700 officers across the state.
Zone said officials want to get to at least have a 3,700-person police presence by convention time.
Zone says Charlotte purchased 1,300 riot gear suits for the DNC in 2012. Cleveland plans to acquire 2,000. "There are going to be some trouble makers coming to our city, so we want to make sure our officers have the right equipment,” Zone told Golston.
Golston viewed a bid-list for the convention, which includes things like horse trailers, hydration packs, ballistic helmets, vests and accessories, police bikes and helmets, interlocking steel barriers, and batons.
Zone says concerns about the militarization of police are unwarranted. “We’re not buying tanks, grenade launchers, and armored vehicles," Zone said.
Much of the equipment purchased will go home with various police departments and not stay with Cleveland Police, according to Zone.