Tampa moves closer to $50 million in federal funds for RNC "security"11/15/11 SeÃ¡n Kinane
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Tampa is a step closer to getting $50 million of federal money for next summerâ€™s Republican National Convention.
The House and Senate Appropriations Conference Committee has recommended the security funding. Itâ€™s included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations â€œMinibusâ€ which must be approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate as well as signed by the President. Tampa-area U.S. Representative Kathy Castor said today she expects a full House vote this week.
In an email statement, Castor said, â€œThe Tampa Police Department and local law enforcement will now have the resources necessary to ensure that our neighbors, community and thousands of visitors are safe.â€
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wrote, â€œI am very pleased that Congress is set to vote on the security funding for the upcoming 2012 nominating conventions.â€
In interviews weâ€™ve done with Tampa Police and Buckhorn, theyâ€™ve said they expect to employ a range of measures including â€œair support,â€ â€œchemicals,â€ bean bag guns, tear gas and pepper spray. Assistant Chief Marc Hamlin said they are also considering innovative technology such as deafening sonic cannons, or a heat ray.
Critics of using federal money for convention security say the private political parties should pay for their own security or that militarizing the response to peaceful protests is not a wise strategy.