With the 2012 Republican National Convention less then a year from its descent on Tampa, state lawmakers got a rundown from law enforcement agencies on security issues surrounding the event.
“The major concern we will face is the issue of civil disobedience,” Jim Madden, assistant commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told the Senate Military Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee, said in an AP report.
Madden said he and the rest of the security team want to avoid a repeat of the 2008 GOP convention in St. Paul, where protestors caused millions of dollars in damage to private and public property and more than 800 people were arrested.
“It was a very serious and severe event,” he said. “They pretty much lost control of the city.”
A better model, he said, is the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, where only seven people were arrested.
The 2012 Republican National Convention, set for Aug. 27-30 at the St. Pete Times Forum, is expected to draw nearly 50,000 delegates, volunteers, journalists, convention staffers and visitors.
More than 4,000 security personnel from various law enforcement agencies will be deployed each day to keep crowds under control including protestors, which could number as high as 300,000, the report said.
Considered a “national special security event,” the convention is eligible for federal funding to cover security costs. Convention host cities in the past have received $50 million from the federal government. The Tampa host committee has asked Congress for $55 million, the report says. So far, only $4 million has been appropriated.