Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

4,000 Police Officers Will Guard DNC

Some 150 police departments, 12 fire departments will secure 50,000-person event.

By - Nov 14th, 2019 12:15 pm
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Police Administration Building, 951 N. James Lovell St. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Police Administration Building, 951 N. James Lovell St. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) will allocate approximately 1,200 officers to downtown Milwaukee during the July 2020 Democratic National Convention while the remainder of the city will be placed on “minimum staffing levels.”

The event security team will be supplemented by approximately 2,800 officers from 146 different agencies. That supplemental force includes officers from 106 in-state and 40 out-of-state agencies.

A total of 4,000 officers will secure the estimated 50,000 event attendees.

“What’s going to happen to our districts and our neighborhoods?” asked Alderman Robert Donovan during a Public Safety & Health Committee meeting to review the associated contracts.” Are we going to have West Allis cops responding to calls in Milwaukee?”

MPD chief of staff Nick DeSiato said that Milwaukee officers would be the only ones responding to calls, with the supplemental officers being used Downtown in a security force.

“Generally speaking the other districts will be at minimum staffing levels,” said DeSiato.

“Your idea of adequate and my idea of adequate might be very different,” responded Donovan.

But DeSiato said that likely wasn’t the case.

Lieutenant Wesam Yaghnam said the department used a 55 to 60 percent staffing level to calculate the number of officers required. “We utilized that as a benchmark across the city and made sure those districts are staffed appropriately,” said Yaghnam.

Officers, who will work 12-hour shifts across the city, will be prevented from taking vacation during the week of the convention to maintain the staffing levels.

“That includes detectives, that includes everyone?” asked Donovan. “That’s correct,” said DeSiato.

Ald. Mark Borkowski asked who has the final ability to issue orders. DeSiato said that included in the agreements was that Police Chief Alfonso Morales and Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing have the authority.

“Anything having to do with arrests will be made by a State of Wisconsin officer to make sure they have jurisdiction,” said Yaghnam. He told the committee that most of the officers will perform security roles.

“I am really interested to know what training strategies will be implemented,” said Ald. Chantia Lewis pointing out that suburban officers would be put into urban situations for which they may not be familiar. DeSiato promised to provide information in the future.

12 Additional Fire Departments

Milwaukee Fire Department Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski briefed the committee on the fire department’s strategy, which includes partnerships with 12 other agencies.

“There will be very negligible impact on the day-to-day operation on the fire department,” said Lipski. Staffing will be done with personnel working overtime.

The participating fire departments will be West Allis, Wauwatosa, North Shore, Oak Creek, Greenfield, St. Francis, Milwaukee County Airport, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Racine, Madison and Green Bay according to a city report. Eau Claire, La Crosse and Racine will be providing hazardous materials support.

“We have many years of experience of extremely robust cross-jurisdictional cooperation with suburban forces,” said Lipski.

Lipski praised assistant city attorney Mary Schanning for handling the multiple agreements necessary to engage and reimburse the participating departments. “It’s an enormous knot to be unraveled,” said Lipski.

Schanning told the committee that the number of agencies might fluctuate but they’re moving towards having all the agreements finalized in 2020. “Our goal is to have them all signed by March 1st at the very latest,” said Schanning.

The supplemental personnel and overtime will be funded by a federal grant estimated to be in excess of $50 million

The committee unanimously endorsed the contract templates.

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More about the Road to the DNC

Categories: Crime, Politics

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