RNC Security in Cleveland is Finally Taken Seriously after Dallas Massacre

Police officers detain a protester following a rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Fresno, California, U.S. May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Noah Berger

The police massacre in Dallas has forced the Cleveland Police Department to finally respond to the threat posed by increasingly violent left wing protests around the country ahead of the Republican National Convention.

Cleveland Police Chief Ed Tomba reportedly told Reuters that law enforcement would make changes to the security plan for the RNC . Tomba also emailed other law enforcement agencies to “reassure” them that officers would be safe.

“We have got to make some changes without a doubt,” Chief Tomba reportedly told Reuters over the phone. “I wrote an email reassuring them [other agencies providing officers for the convention] we are prepared and let them know we cannot pull the plan off without them.”

For months, Breitbart News has been sounding the alarm over security concerns at the convention in Cleveland after organized violent protests surrounding presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump around the country. Breitbart Texas warned of possible danger to both convention goers and law enforcement officers in a post by Lana Shadwick titled, “Cops and GOP Convention Goers are Sitting Ducks, Says Cleveland Police Union.”

“The president of the Cleveland Ohio police union warns that cops and convention goers are “sitting ducks” at the 2016 Republican National Convention,” The City of Cleveland is ill-equipped to handle the thousands of professional leftist, Black Lives Matter, and other protesters and there is just under a month to go before the convention.

Tens of thousands of truckers, bikers, Trump supporters and convention delegates are expected to pour into the city during the convention.”

Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told Breitbart Texas that Cleveland city officials are still refusing to heed, some arrogantly so, the recommendations of federal security officials. This is even though the City has procured insurance, as reported, to cover the “anticipated” “large scale rioting.”

The police union head charges that the mayor of Cleveland “just does not get it.” He adds that “Command staff has arrogantly dismissed concerns of officials from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).”

The City of Cleveland has asked officers from across the country to help provide security; however, Loomis says he has massive concerns about the safety and security of both his “rank and file officers,” and officers from other cities. He said, “I wouldn’t hold it against them if they decided to pull-out.” He told Breitbart Texas that City officials “Just take, take, take, but need to pretend for a moment that they really care about us.”

In a story covering the Cleveland Police Chief’s comments the Washington Post provides a list of the protest groups planning action.

“Dozens of organizations — ranging from groups for and against the candidacy of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, plus local social justice organizations; an antiabortion group; the ONE Campaign; an AIDS health-care organization based in Los Angeles; the “Funny or Die” comedy group; and white supremacists from California — have applied for demonstration or parade permits or announced plans to be in Cleveland without official permission. City and federal officials have said they cannot guarantee they will be unable to keep apart groups that may be at odds with one another.”

Besides the safety concerns for officers raised by the massacre in Dallas, officers and their representatives are concerned about potential civil and criminal liability and whether Cleveland was going to have enough man power.

Agent Ronald L. Rowe, Jr., RNC Coordinator for the U.S. Secret Service, stated during a City of Cleveland briefing in late May that the GOP Convention has been designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as “a National Special Security Event.” The agent called the convention a “very complex event” that would have to be dealt with through a “collaborative effort.”

In a presentation entitled “RNC Cleveland 2016: Protecting Guests, Maintaining Safety,” Michael McGrath, Safety Director for the City of Cleveland, said the city was going to partner with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). He stated that the city has received a National Special Security Event (“NSSE”) grant and the City will have to account for how it spends the money. He added that the Secret Service was acting as the lead agency to develop a security plan. The police union president said that city officials are ignoring the experts.

According to the DHS FEMA website, when an event is designated as a NSSE event, the Secret Service develops “a core strategy to carry out its security operations” but it “relies heavily on its established partnerships with law enforcement and public safety officials at the local, state, and federal levels.”

As it relates to just Cleveland PD officers, Loomis told Breitbart Texas, “I need to know exactly what they are going to do to deal with the confidence factor.” He said his officers need better information and training. He added that city officials and business leaders spent millions to woo the convention but Cleveland is too small to handle the almost certain inferno. He said the police force is equipped to deal with the 400,000 that swells to almost 600,000 during the workweek, but he is worried about the political invasion. The City apparently has a different perspective.

Edward Eckart, Assistant Director of Public Safety, said he hoped that folks got the sense that the City has the following “strengths.” He outlined them on an overhead projector during the City’s briefing as: “People;” “Collaboration;” “Training;” and “Equipment.” The Cleveland police union president raised questions about all of these areas.

Loomis said he was concerned about the number of uniformed officers to cover the convention, and also added that his officers were upset because they were told at the last minute they could not take a vacation before, during, or after, the convention. He said it has caused “problems,” e.g., officers paid for airfare and had made vacation arrangements. He noted that the City has had two years to plan but charges that it is not complying with FEMA’s directive for 4,000 uniformed officers. He said the City is saying they will have plain clothes cops in the crowd and are doing so to hide the lack of manpower.

“Whether they be Black Lives Matter, for Hillary, or Bernie supporters, or anarchists,” Loomis is worried about the “thousands” of protesters. He said that RNC (Republican National Convention) events are harder to police because of the protesters who come in. He contrasted Democratic National Convention (DNC) protesters saying they are “much easier to deal with.” Loomis noted “This is not uncharted waters” and the City has past conventions to look to for guidance.”

The convention scheduled to begin Monday with the meetings of platform and rules committees. Kicking off in full on July 18, the Cleveland PD and coordinating law enforcement agencies have little time to adjust.

Dustin Stockton is a political reporter for Breitbart News, a community liaison for Gun Owners of America, and a political strategist. Follow him on Twitter @DustinStockton or  Facebook.


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