On the Radio
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor says her department is prepared to deal with the tens of thousands of people who are expected to descend on Tampa for the upcoming Republican National Convention. WUSF's All Things Considered host Craig Kopp asks her what kind of unique challenges police will face - especially from thousands of protestors parading in the Florida heat.
While Castor says the majority of people who come to the convention will be peaceful, police are prepared for the minority whose intentions are anything but.
"The eyes of the world will be upon us," she says.
Political conventions usually need from 3,500 to 4,000 police officers to maintain order, she says. But Tampa has only 1,000 officers. The rest will be coming mostly from sheriff's offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties - although some will be coming from as far as Miami.
But just how thoroughly trained will these officers be?
"Everyone is going through lengthy and in-depth crowd management training, which is provided by the Department of Homeland Security," she says. "And we actually have sent a contingent of officers from the Tampa Police department and the sheriff's office to these different agencies to train them in crowd management, to insure that everyone understands the tactics necessary and everyone understands the need to prevent any issues from occurring."
She says those other officers will be supervised directly by either someone from Tampa P.D. or the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. And outside of the area directly controlled by the Secret Service, Castor will be in charge of every officer.
"I just want this to be an event that showcases all that's great about the Tampa Bay area, and law enforcement in Tampa," she says.