More than 100 police agencies pull out of Democratic National Convention security contracts

More than 100 police agencies in Wisconsin have pulled out of their security contracts with the Democratic National Convention ahead of their predominantly virtual convention, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.

Some of the agencies said their decision to pull out of the agreement to send personnel to the convention comes after the Milwaukee’s police chief decided to cease the use of tear gas and pepper spray during demonstrations.

Their decision to pull out of the contracts cast doubt on the convention’s goal to have 1,000 officers at the event, which will run from Aug. 17-20, where former Vice President Joe Biden will formally accept the party’s nomination. Only about 300 people are expected to attend the in-person event.

“MPD’s top priority remains to ensure that next month’s DNC is a safe event for all visitors and participants,” the Milwaukee Police Department said in the statement.

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission last week directed Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to change department policy to restrict the use of tear gas and pepper spray, which has been used by law enforcement at demonstrations protesting racial inequality in recent months. 

“We regret having to do that,” William Lamb, a local police chief who chairs the Wisconsin Police Executive Group (WPEG) told the Journal Sentinel. 

Lamb said the WPEG “strongly disagree” with the decision, adding that they believe that in “removing those tools, the use of chemical irritants or pepper spray, from the available resources that the law enforcement officers would have at their disposal if protests become non-peaceful would severely compromise the safety of the public and also the safety of the law enforcement officers who would be assigned to protect the DNC.”

Convention officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

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