The Tampa City Council approved $829,000 more in police spending on Thursday to provide extra gas masks and other supplies during the Republican National Convention, according to an article by the Tampa Bay Times.
Council members voted 6-1 to pay $518,460 for 1,400 gas masks and accessories, including 20 with "voice projection units." The one dissenter, Mary Mulhern, said that the purchase would not set "a great tone for our expectations for the convention," the article states.
The council unanimously voted to spend:
- $85,580 for 17,400 short- and long-sleeved, all-cotton printed T-shirts to outfit the coalition of local and out-of-town officers working the convention, and
- $224,063 for 225 tactical communications headsets, plus accessories and three days of training.
The headsets are to be different from typical police radios in that the two-way communications gear is specifically built for workers who are in noisy places or have to wear gas masks, the article says. The city has already agreed to purchase $1.9 million in helmets, face shields, body armor and other protective gear for the convention.
Money for the purchases is coming out of the $50 million federal convention security grant, and slightly more than $15.5 million of the grant has been committed, even including Thursday's purchases, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The council also approved ground rules for protestors at the convention, including a ban on carrying gas masks inside the city's proposed "Event Zone." City officials say that the ban is needed because if police use tear gas to clear an area, demonstrators in gas masks could force officers to resort to even harsher methods, the article says.