Local law enforcement charged with securing the Republican National Convention are signing the blues today:
A recently announced visit to Tampa by Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention, puts an added strain on law enforcement, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said.
“It does complicate things. Certainly, it’s not the best day for us because we are trying to do a good job for the people that are going to be down in Tampa for this other event so they are all safe,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.
Biden will attend functions Monday and Tuesday just as 50,000 delegates and media members, along with thousands of protesters, are expected to pour into downtown Tampa. The RNC is slated to run Monday through Thursday at the Forum.
Gee said his office is committed to having a strong presence in Tampa as well as protecting the rest of the county. He said it is unprecedented for a sitting vice president to pop into a city where the opposing political party is holding its national convention.
Adding to the concern is Tropical Storm Isaac, which is forecast to affect the Tampa area on Monday. Evacuations and even cancellation of the RNC has been discussed.
“We’re stretched, no doubt, and we may become more stretched with this storm out there,” Gee said.
Isaac could also force a shakeup of the security plans for the Republican convention because about half of the expected officers come from other parts of the state and could be forced to stay home for the storm, authorities said Thursday.
“We’re in a situation right now where we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Gee said. “My primary concern right now is that we will lose resources.”
Gee said some agencies, especially in South Florida, might decide not to send officers to Tampa if the storm threatens their areas.
“As things change, they might have to prioritize,” he said.