Tampa trims RNC security wish list

Nov. 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM
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TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Costs forced Tampa, Fla., police to cut their wish list of security apparatus for next year's Republican National Convention, officials said.

The city trimmed plans to use more than 200 cameras to about 60 to stay within its allocation of about $2 million instead of the $5 million bid it received, the St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday. It also eliminated high-tech tools such as helmet cameras and drones.

"All that stuff is very expensive, and we're on a budget, so we're going to have to be more prudent," Tampa Assistant Police Chief Marc Hamlin said. "We thought $5 million was way too much to spend, so that's why we had to scale it down and tighten it up."

The city issued its latest request for proposals earlier this month and responses are due Jan. 18.

The cameras must be in position by July 1, the Times said, because police expect 10,000 to 15,000 demonstrators when the convention meets Aug. 27-30.

Money for the cameras will come from $50 million in federal funds Tampa will get for convention security, the Times said. About two-thirds of the federal money will pay for the 3,000 to 4,000 law enforcement officers officials said they think will be required.

The city also is seeking bids for a sophisticated video management system that can "'intelligently' recognize normal and abnormal behavior, without the need for human interaction," and quickly alert officials, police said.

"The behavioral recognition would be good," Hamlin said, but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker if it's too expensive.

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