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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

After questions, Tampa City Council approves police upgrades for Republican National Convention



After its most detailed discussion yet about security for the Republican National Convention, the Tampa City Council on Thursday approved the first in a series of police upgrades to be paid for with funds from a $50 million federal grant.

Council members voted to approve spending nearly $273,000 of the funds on a new armored SWAT team truck and another $1.18 million to modernize the live video feeds streamed from cameras in police helicopters.

Up to two-thirds of the $50 million in federal funds, which the council also voted to accept, are expected to be spent paying, housing and feeding an estimated 3,000 or more officers from other law enforcement agencies that Tampa expects to need for the convention, scheduled from Aug. 27-30 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The convention is expected to draw up to 15,000 protesters, and organizers expect the outside officers to be needed in addition to Tampa's nearly 1,000 police officers and Hillsborough's 1,100 sheriff's deputies.

Council members approved the purchases unanimously, but not before Vice Chairwoman Mary Mulhern had two questions. Click here for those questions and the Police Department's answers.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 10:37am]


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