Tampa Police Captain Brian Dugan met with weapons and law enforcement equipment vendor Safariland Tuesday November 22. Andrea Davis is a spokesperson for Tampa Police, and she said that Safariland arranged the appointment. Occupy Tampa protesters say they saw him at Moxies sandwich shop with several company representatives at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
When WMNF last spoke with Assistant Chief Marc Hamlin five weeks ago, he said that pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets were all on the table as acceptable crowd management tools. Since then there has been a national outrage over the incident at UC Davis when a police officer sprayed seated students point blank in the face with pepper spray last Friday.
The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Tampa Police Department will prohibit the use of pepper spray to control large crowds during the 2012 RNC convention. Andrea Davis said Dugan did meet with Safariland, but Tampa Police, “have not purchased anything and any purchases would require a request for proposal.”
She said Safariland requested to provide Tampa Police with information on all of the services they provide and equipment they sell, and that they are not purchasing anything at this time. Safariland’s First Defense® OC Aerosol Line includes the pepper spray used at the UC Davis protest, according to the news site Mashable. Tampa Police’s Andrea Davis said that Captain Dugan works with specialty teams, and he often meets with vendors.
While Tampa Police appear to have reversed course about the use of pepper spray, they could purchase a number of other Safariland products which have not yet been ruled out, like body armor, non lethal firearms and accessories.
Here’s the full email from TPD’s Andrea Davis:
“Captain Dugan did meet with Safari Land today. We have not purchased anything and any purchases would require an RFP. This was a meeting Safari Land requested to provide us with information on all of the services they provide and equipment they sell. By no means are we purchasing anything at this time. Again, any purchases would require and RFP.”
and another email:
“We get approached by vendors all the time…Captain Dugan is the specialty teams and this is a specialty team based vendor. He often has meetings with vendors.”