Jeramey Jannene

Have A Firefighting Boat? City Needs One for Republican Convention

City seeking all sorts of security products for national convention in July 2024.

By - Jul 3rd, 2023 05:00 pm
Mayor Cavalier Johnson displays a signed RNC framework agreement. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson displays a signed RNC framework agreement in 2022. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Though it’s still more than a year away, the wide breadth of security components the Republican National Convention requires is on full display in the City of Milwaukee’s contracting portal.

For one, the city needs space to house the 4,500 outside police officers that will help guard the convention. Multiple requests for proposals have sought to find housing for them, likely in college dormitories.

A second housing RFP closed in late June, following an initial RFP that resulted in only UW-Whitewater, Concordia University and Wisconsin Lutheran College being selected.

Several other bidding opportunities, many related to the Milwaukee Fire Department, have followed.

Responses were due June 29 for a “river fire boat.” Another nautical RFP, open for bids through July 13, seeks to find two 300-horsepower, gasoline-powered outboard motors.

The city closed bidding on June 27 for “three Fire Pumper Apparatuses” (fire trucks). An award is also pending for a “mobile command post.”

Milwaukee went through a similar process in 2020 for the Democratic National Convention, though it presumably never purchased all 12,000 two-ounce packages of trail mix it was once seeking after the convention became a largely virtual event, leaving almost nobody to hit the trail. In addition to a plethora of snacks, the city also sought to buy 1,000 pepper spray canisters and a “tactical gas delivery system” and lease 500 concrete barriers and 32,750 aluminum barricades.

A federal grant of at least $50 million pays for security costs related to the two major political conventions. It could increase to $75 million under a proposal being pushed through Congress by the Congressional delegations from Wisconsin and Illinois.

The 2024 Republican National Convention will be held in Milwaukee from July 15-18. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago from August 19-24. Both events are expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors, though the Republican convention carries much more intrigue given the large field of candidates.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated both conventions as National Special Security Events, which affords security coordination leadership to the U.S. Secret Service and FBI.

The city gets to keep the equipment it purchases, but any equipment first needs to be required by the federal security plan and the city cannot purchase anything it could otherwise reasonably borrow or lease. A spokesperson for Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the result was far from a windfall for the city.

There are far more than city contracts that will be awarded for the convention. The local host committee, 170 Freedom Milwaukee 2024 Host Committee, Inc, and the Republican National Committee are also expected to award millions of dollars in contracts. The host committee launched a public vendor portal in April.

Members of the public or interested bidders can follow the city’s bidding opportunities on the Purchasing Division website. Awarded contracts are also posted on the city website.

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Categories: Politics, Public Safety

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