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Cleveland Seeking to Buy Riot Gear for Republican National Convention

March 08, 2016  | 

Cleveland is seeking to buy 2,000 sets of riot gear, including riot-control suits and collapsible batons, as part of the city's latest move to spend a $50 million federal security grant for July's Republican National Convention, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The city this week posted to its contracting website a notice seeking bidders to provide the gear. City documents refer to the "Elite Defender" riot-control suit manufactured by HWI Gear and a 26-inch baton manufactured by Monadnock, plus 2,000 bags to carry them.

The city also wants to buy 310 sets of riot-control gear — long-sleeve jackets, gloves and shin guards — that would be suitable for use by police riding bicycles.

The city last week began ramping up its public process to spend the RNC security money, approved by Congress last December. The city previously has sought to buy 300 bicycles, 15 motorcycles, 25 sets of tactical armor, and two horse trailers.

The city also has sought to rent about three miles of interlocking steel barriers, each 3.5 feet high, and buy another 3,250 feet of interlocking barriers that each would be 6.5 feet tall for the RNC, according to bid documents. In a brief interview on Thursday, city spokesman Dan Williams referred to at least some of these barriers as "bike racks," although manufacturer Tamis Corp. markets the barriers, branded as "Blockaders," as crowd-control devices.

The convention, scheduled for the week of July 18, is expected to attract 50,000 visitors to Cleveland. As part of its security plan, Cleveland is organizing a police force of 5,000 officers — the city is in the process of recruiting officers from surrounding suburbs and elsewhere to bolster its existing force of about 1,200. Previous conventions also have attracted political demonstrators, ranging from more than 100,000 for the 2004 RNC in New York City to less than 1,000 for the 2012 RNC in Tampa, Florida.

Because the RNC has been designated as a National Special Security Event, it is eligible to receive federal funding. Cleveland is planning convention security under the direction of the Secret Service.

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