Tampa receiving $50M grant for RNC

Mulhern concerned about "militarizing" city

TAMPA - The city of Tampa is receiving a $50 million federal grant to be used for security during the Republican National Convention.

On Thursday, the Tampa City Council approved receiving the money on the ordinance's first reading.

According to assistant chief Marc Hamlin, the department will spend half to two-thirds of the money staffing police officers, feeding them and housing them. That includes out-of-town officers.

The rest of the money will be devoted to equipment improvements and technology upgrades, Hamlin said.

The Tampa Police Department will share the responsibility of RNC security with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Secret Service.

Councilwoman Mary Mulhern voiced concerns about the $50 million grant.

She is concerned with how the money will be spent, particularly if it is used on security cameras and armored vehicles. She said she was worried the city would be "militarized."

She suggested some of the money be used on a homeless shelter, arguing that the city's recent six-day ban on panhandling was a product of the RNC.

Hamlin said he would check to see if the money could be allocated to a homeless shelter, but he doubted that would be a possibility.

He added the Department of Justice will be monitoring how the money is spent and conduct an audit after the convention.

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