Cleveland police officials are changing the city's security plans for the upcoming Republican National Convention in the wake of the massacre in Dallas on Thursday night.
Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba announced the changes Friday, telling Reuters: "We have got to make some changes without a doubt" in the wake of the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers — the deadliest attack on law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
A spokeswoman later confirmed that the city is revamping the convention security plan, but declined to detail how the plan is changing.
"We don't discuss tactics or deployment," Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, a Cleveland police spokeswoman, said in an email. Tomba was not available for further comment.
Cleveland has about 1,700 police officers and about a third of the force will be assigned to convention-related duties, while federal agencies and out-of-town forces — mostly from across Ohio — will help secure the convention perimeter. Tomba is overseeing convention security planning and is the city's main point of contact with out-of-town police agencies that are sending officers to help support local, state and federal officials guarding downtown Cleveland during the convention from July 18-21.
In the Reuters interview, Tomba said he has emailed the chiefs of police sending personnel to Cleveland, "reassuring them we are prepared and let them know we cannot pull the plan off without them," he said.
Philadelphia, site of the Democratic National Convention from July 25-28, has not announced any changes to its existing convention security plans, according to Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney.
"We haven’t announced any such plans," she said in an email.
In Cleveland, the unspecified security changes are likely to add another layer of frustration to already-complex security planning overseen by the U.S. Secret Service. Multiple local and national organizations have complained that Cleveland city and police officials provided unclear guidance on how organizations could apply for demonstration and parade permits. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio also sued the city on behalf of several organizations upset by a short and restrictive protest route that would have kept marchers away from the Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the GOP convention.
Dozens of organizations — ranging from groups for and against the candidacy of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, plus local social justice organizations; an antiabortion group; the ONE Campaign; an AIDS health-care organization based in Los Angeles; the "Funny or Die" comedy group; and white supremacists from California — have applied for demonstration or parade permits or announced plans to be in Cleveland without official permission. City and federal officials have said they cannot guarantee they will be unable to keep apart groups that may be at odds with one another.
In a message posted on the police department's blog this week, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams said that his officers "have undergone hours of training relative to many subjects," adding that "the training has been both comprehensive and valuable."
"This event will put Cleveland in the national spotlight, as did the Cleveland Cavaliers parade just a short time ago. The time is upon us once again to showcase Cleveland and what we, as a community, are all about," he wrote.