Fort Worth Police are sending 30 officers — along with bikes and horses — to Cleveland next month to help with security at the Republican National Convention where 50,000 conventioneers and protesters are expected to gather.
Volatile protests and demonstrations have followed the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at rallies across the county in the past several months, and nothing short of that is expected in Cleveland.
The Fort Worth officers, 22 from the downtown bike unit and eight from the mounted patrol unit, will assist with crowd control, Fort Worth said.
The Fort Worth officers, though, will be among thousands of officers nationwide that have been recruited to help the Cleveland police with the convention, which has been designated a national special security event. Cleveland is receiving a $50 million Justice Department grant to provide the security and pay for equipment it feels is needed to keep the convention and the city safe.
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The added officers will be paid out of that money. For Fort Worth, the salary and overtime costs will be $182,479, Fort Worth said. Cleveland is also paying for meals and lodging for the officers as well as transportation costs for the officers, bikes and horses.
Cleveland is not saying how many police departments nationwide are participating, but the number of officers “on loan” is expected to be about 3,500, according to published reports. About 600 of Cleveland’s 1,500-member force are being assigned to the convention, reports said.
Sgt. Marc Povero, a Fort Worth police spokesman, said Fort Worth will also send a commanding officer, a representative from the Police Officers Association and a police attorney to handle any liability issues or other concerns that may arise.
Povero said it’s an honor that Fort Worth was asked to help. That came, in part, because Fort Worth’s bike unit helped to train Cleveland’s bike unit last summer. And, the for the past seven years, Fort Worth’s bike unit has trained with the Calgary, Canada, Police Service, in crowd control, the city said.
Fort Worth has helped at large political events before. Fort Worth police helped at both inaugurations for President Obama and at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, for example.
The officers will be gone July 14-24. During that time, neighborhood police officers will take over the downtown bike patrol duties, Povero said.
The Fort Worth Council will vote Tuesday to approve accepting the money from Cleveland.