Police department won’t send officers to RNC, cites concerns

CLEVELAND (AP) — A North Carolina police department has rescinded its offer to send 50 police officers to this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, citing concerns about insurance coverage and whether the city is prepared to host an event that’s expected to bring 50,000 visitors to northeast Ohio.

Greensboro police made the decision this week, saying the city isn’t providing workers’ compensation coverage for out-of-town officers and is requiring them to get physical exams they’d have to pay for themselves.

Deputy Police Chief Brian James, in a memo to the city’s police chief, wrote that he had spoken with police administrators experienced in planning events like the RNC and that they expressed “a lack of confidence in the city of Cleveland and their preparedness.”

“We have a responsibility to ensure that we are sending our officers to an event that is well planned,” James wrote.

A spokesman for the city of Cleveland sent an email Friday afternoon that said the Greensboro memo was inaccurate but didn’t elaborate. Greensboro police didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday.

A Cleveland police union official has been sounding the alarm for months about how Cleveland officers are not being properly trained to deal with potentially tumultuous protests. Groups supporting and opposing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are planning to stage rallies and protests during the convention, which begins July 18.

“The city of Cleveland has been absolutely irresponsible for preparation of this convention,” Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said Friday.

A number of city police departments in Ohio and other states has decided not to send officers to Cleveland, including Cincinnati, Loomis said.

A Cincinnati police spokesman said Friday that the previous police chief had discussed sending officers to Cleveland, but his successor decided against it because of the insurance issue and because Cincinnati is hosting the national NAACP convention the same week.

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