Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Milwaukee Seeking $50 Million To Pay for DNC Security

Federal grant covers costs of police and fire during convention. 4,000 police officers expected.

By - Jan 16th, 2020 12:35 pm
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Police Chief Alfonso Morales speaks at a press conference on the DNC. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Police Chief Alfonso Morales speaks at a press conference on the DNC. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The boundaries of the security perimeter are still a secret, but it’s now public how much the city will seek to cover the cost of police and fire personnel securing the Democratic National Convention.

The City of Milwaukee will apply today for a $50 million federal grant to reimburse security costs related to the convention. A total of 4,000 officers will work 12-hour shifts to secure the estimated 50,000 event attendees.

“I feel that it is important to share this info with the public to be as transparent as possible,” said Mayor Tom Barrett at a Wednesday afternoon press conference announcing the grant submission.

The bulk of those funds will go to cover the cost of hiring thousands of out-of-town officers to secure the convention. The city is expected to allocate 1,200 officers to downtown Milwaukee during the July convention, with an additional 2,800 officers coming from 147 agencies, according to a Milwaukee Police Department report. In addition to the Milwaukee Fire Department, 12 fire departments will also provide staffing for the convention.

“Yesterday was a good snippet of what will happen this summer,” said Police Chief Alfonso Morales of President Donald Trump‘s rally in downtown Milwaukee and the related logistical issues. He praised the media for spreading information related to road closures and other transportation issues. “We briefed you, you briefed the public, things went smoothly,” concluded the Chief.

“Of course one of the things we want to avoid is spending the money and not being reimbursed,” said Barrett. The Mayor said in discussions with officials at past convention host cities, including Cleveland, Philadelphia and Charlotte, the city has learned that “documentation is key.” Barrett has pledged that no city tax dollars would be used to host the convention. “It can’t be somebody’s dream list of what they want to have,” said the Mayor of what the money would be spent on.

Barrett praised Congresswoman Gwen Moore, his co-chair on the host committee, and Senator Tammy Baldwin.

The federal government has authorized $100 million to cover the two conventions, designated as “National Special Security Events.” The Republican National Convention will run from August 24th through 27th in Charlotte, North Carolina. The federal government makes similar provisions for other high-profile events including Presidential Inaugurations, G8 and NATO summits and the Super Bowl.

The local host committee is on track to privately raise $70 million to host the convention.

The Common Council’s Finance & Personnel Committee unanimously authorized the Department of Administration to accept and expend the grant Wednesday morning. Dennis Yaccarino, city budget director, detailed that the bulk of the costs would be spent on personnel, particularly overtime costs. He said that pay is not counted towards officers’ pensions so the city would only bill a minimal amount of the grant’s total for fringe costs. “The other big chunk is for liability insurance,” Yaccarino said. The city is able to charge $2.5 million for “indirect costs” as part of the grant.

“We expect to hear back from [the Department of Justice] in early March of their acceptance,” said Yaccarino. “We are positive we are going to make every effort to ensure we don’t have to tap into any city money on this.”

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs asked if the city would be able to keep anything purchased during the event. Yaccarino said yes, but only after a federal audit. “Like what?” asked Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II. “One easy one for me is defibrillators, we can use those going forward,” said the budget director.

The city will have to return any unspent money.

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Related Legislation: File 190886

More about the Road to the DNC

Categories: City Hall, Politics

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