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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Homeland Security seeks bids for riot gear in advance of national political conventions



Tampa police already have bought riot gear for the Republican National Convention. Now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is following suit.

In a request issued last week, Homeland Security officials sought bids for supplying 147 sets of riot helmets, upper body and shoulder protectors, shin guards and tactical gloves. The agency also wants to buy a few extra sets of forearm protectors and thigh and groin protectors.

The gear is to outfit officers of the Federal Protective Service, which guards federal buildings and facilities, for the Republican and Democratic national conventions, the 2013 presidential inauguration and other events, according to the request. Time is of the essence: Homeland Security asked bidders for a response within one day of the request being issued, and wants to take delivery within 15 days of the contract being awarded.

In March, the Tampa City Council approved a police proposal to pay $1.9 million to Safeware Inc. of Landover , Md. , for protective equipment such as helmets, face shields and body armor to outfit officers working crowd control during the convention. Funds for the city's purchase are coming from a $50 million federal grant that Tampa is receiving to pay for convention security.

Scheduled for Aug. 27-30, the RNC could draw an estimated 15,000 protesters, most of whom are expected to be peaceful. The Tampa Police Department, which has about 1,000 officers, is bringing in another 3,000 or more officers from other agencies around the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida to help secure the event.



[Last modified: Monday, July 30, 2012 5:32pm]


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