Cleveland police union, NAACP have RNC security concerns

Police union, NAACP concerned over RNC safety

CLEVELAND -- How ready is the Cleveland Police Department for possible trouble surrounding the Republican National Convention?

Donald Trump's warnings of possible riots and a futile, but much-publicized, online petition to allow guns inside Quicken Loans Arena are stoking fears of what might happen.

And similar, but separate, concerns are being expressed by both the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association and the NAACP.

CPPA President Steve Loomis says the police department and city are "behind the eight ball," way behind where experts believe they should be in training and equipping police for possible protests and confrontations surrounding the convention.

Loomis says, thus far, 500 officers have received just three days of crowd control training from federal FEMA agents.

"The city needs to make every effort to keep us as well trained and well equipped as possible for what we will face...Three days of training for a perishable skill is irresponsible, it's not enough, " Loomis said.

He also is concerned that special riot and safety gear will not arrive in time to be properly fitted.

"They have not taken one officer's measurements. It's not one size fits all," Loomis said.

Loomis expressed concern that many loose ends are not yet tied up.

He said out-of-state police officers will be on loan and contributing to the security effort.

But he claims special laws must still be passed to clarify what their powers will be regarding enforcement and arrest. Will they be deputized to be equals of Cleveland officers?

The NAACP sent a letter to city and county officials, including Mayor Frank Jackson and County Executive Armond Budish, expressing concern that police are not ready for the possible mix of protesters and demonstrators brandishing guns in the open carry state of Ohio.

"People walking around with guns and our police department not being prepared to deal with that reality...It creates a strange brew for nothing but trouble," NAACP President Mike Nelson said.

He asked authorities to be more forthcoming with plans to inform local residents.

"We're not asking for proprietary plans. We're not asking for anti-terrorism plans. We're talking about the average citizen...so as people come to town, they'll know what to expect," Nelson said. "And more importantly, people in town will know what to expect."

The Secret Service is unrelenting. An online petition seeking to admit guns inside the Q for the convention will not make any difference. No guns will be allowed.

The city and Secret Service are not openly discussing other security plans and preparations, except to offer assurances that thorough plans and preparations are being made.

“The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s department is supporting the security efforts of the Secret Service, the Cleveland Police Department and other law enforcement agencies as they prepare for the RNC," wrote Mary Louise Madigan, a county spokeswoman. "We are working together to assure all citizens of the county and all visitors are safe and that their rights are protected” 

But people are still wondering what those efforts include.

 


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