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Republican National Convention Loses Police Presence, And It’s A Really Bad Sign

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Casey Harper Contributor

One police department that planned to send 50 officers to the Republican National Convention has backed out after finding out the city of Cleveland’s insurance will not pay for the cops if they are hurt during the convention.

The Greensboro, N.C., Police Department had initially planned to send officers to the RNC since October, but lack of insurance caused the department to reconsider, according to an internal memo obtained by The Greensboro News & Record. In the memo, Deputy Chief Brian L. James cited the lack of organization and advised against attending the convention, though a city official later questioned the memo’s accuracy.

James questioned whether the event was well planned and said it put a financial risk on the city if the officers are hurt. He also said there have been staffing issues at his department and cited a new requirement from Cleveland that all the officers get physical exams.

I was made aware a short time ago that the city of Cleveland will not provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance for our officers should they suffer an injury during this event. In 2012, we assisted the City of Charlotte, N.C. with the Democratic National Convention and Worker’s Compensation Insurance was provided to our officers working this event. This will cause the City of Greensboro to assume responsibility for any reported injuries of our officers serving in their normal capacity but outside of our jurisdiction.

James said there has not been clarity or clear communication on what the officers would be doing, raising concerns about the convention security’s organization. The memo goes on:

“In recent weeks, I have spoken with Police Administrators who have experience in planning for an event of this magnitude, and they express a lack of confidence in the City of Cleveland and their preparedness for the RNC,” James wrote. “Due to this reason, they declined to send officers from their jurisdictions. While we always make a concerted effort to assist our law enforcement partners, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are sending our officers to an event that is well planned and that we do not leave ourselves in a vulnerable situation here at home while we send our officers to assist in another jurisdiction.”

Continued violence at Donald Trump rallies between protesters and supporters of Trump have many worried the convention will devolve into a riot. Law enforcement had to disperse protesters and made dozens of arrests at a San Diego rally Friday. A Donald Trump rally in Chicago was cancelled earlier this year when the crowd got out of control after anti-Trump protesters arrived. Cleveland police have purchased riot gear and will beef up security for the convention.

Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association blasted the city for its “irresponsible” lack of preparedness. But Cleveland Police Chief defended the city’s readiness at a press conference.

“A lot has been said that Cleveland is not prepared for the RNC,” Williams said. “Well, I’ll tell you today, we are prepared.”

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