Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa expects a $2M hotel bill for out-of-town police during Republican National Convention

TAMPA — Bringing in 3,000 additional law enforcement officers for the Republican National Convention will require about 1,500 hotel rooms, so the city has been busy making reservations.

A travel agent for the city has booked rooms at dozens of hotels throughout the Tampa Bay area, with negotiated double-occupancy rates ranging from $61 to $329 a night.

Law enforcement-related hotel bills for the convention are expected to run $2 million or more, Tampa Assistant Police Chief Marc Hamlin said.

"It's a time when hotel rooms are at a serious premium, and we have to make these arrangements," Hamlin said.

The city couldn't secure the event without importing additional officers from outside the Tampa Bay area, he said.

The Tampa City Council is scheduled Thursday to consider allocating $878,000 to cover deposits on those rooms. Council member Mary Mulhern, who recently questioned a convention-related purchase of an armored SWAT vehicle, said she's comfortable with the request.

City officials are not identifying which hotels they're using or even what chains they've booked with for the same confidentiality reason they don't give out the home addresses of their officers.

Up to two-thirds of the $50 million in federal funds the city is getting to pay for convention security is expected to be used to pay, house and feed additional officers needed for the convention, scheduled for Aug. 27-30 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Some of the outside officers will be here the whole week, some less than that. Their schedules will depend, among other things, on whether they will need on-site training.

Once they get here, the out-of-town officers and deputies will work a variety of assignments, sometimes in partnership with local personnel: traffic control, security details, marine patrol, and dignitary protection and escort, among other things.

The Tampa Police Department, which has nearly 1,000 officers, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, with 1,100 deputies, will continue to patrol the areas they normally cover, Hamlin said. It wouldn't make sense to bring officers in from outside the area and give them assignments that require a detailed knowledge of the community.

Officials also plan to assign Tampa police and Hillsborough deputies to work the demonstrations outside the convention.

The convention is expected to draw up to 15,000 protesters, with one coalition of organized labor, student radicals and antiwar activists calling on groups nationwide to march on the event's first day. Police expect most demonstrators to be peaceful, but are concerned that a small number of vandals and violent provocateurs will try to disrupt the convention.

Because striking the balance between maintaining order and not over-reacting could present police with a high-stakes challenge, police Chief Jane Castor said she wants officers on the front lines to have a direct, personal stake in how the rest of the world sees their hometown.

"Our intent: Everybody who deals with the protesters will be from the Tampa Bay area," Castor told downtown merchants last week.

"We're not going to have officers that are coming from another area that just don't care. We're going to have people that have a vested interest in making Tampa Bay shine during the RNC."

Richard Danielson can be reached at Danielson@tampbay.com, (813) 226-3403 or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

The hotel contracts negotiated by the city for out-of-town police are different from those the Republican Party negotiated with local hotels for delegates and other conventioneers.

The convention expects it will need 15,000 rooms each night of the event, so it booked rooms with about 100 hotels from Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in 2010. In October, however, a new convention contractor stunned hoteliers with an announcement that they were expected to throw out their existing year-old room contracts with the convention's organizers and sign new agreements with lower rates. The Hillsborough County Hotel and Motel Association told hotel managers they were under no obligation to budge.

Three months later, discussions with most hotels have been concluded, convention spokesman James Davis said.

Some hotels did lower their rates, he said, though hotel association executive director Bob Morrison said the "great majority" did not. Others signed agreements for larger blocks of rooms. And, Davis said, "We're still working on some."

Tampa expects a $2M hotel bill for out-of-town police during Republican National Convention 01/31/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.

    In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - …

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

  3. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  5. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.