The Democratic National Convention Committee has announced the selection of its security team for the August convention.
Veteran Members of Denver Police Department to Head Security for Convention Committee, Coordinate Security Planning with Secret Service and Local Law Enforcement The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today announced that two long-time members of the Denver Police Department (DPD) will lead the DNCC's security team for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, to be held August 25-28 in Denver. Frank Conner will serve as Director of Security and Jim Malone will serve as Deputy Director of Security for the DNCC.
Conner's listed qualifications include serving as Lieutenant for the DPD's METRO/SWAT Bureau. Is this a signal that swat teams will be used in Denver? Denver ought to take a page from the Minneapolis-St. Paul security playbook. Matt Bostrom, the police chief in St. Paul who is heading the security effort for the Republican convention, announced yesterday :
There will be no police officers infiltrating protest organizations, Bostrom promised. Police will be in uniform, not war-like tactical gear, he said. There will be no contract cops, similar to the Blackwater security forces. St. Paul police, not the Secret Service, will be in charge of policing outside the convention site at Xcel Energy Center.
Bostrom proclaimed St. Paul a free-speech zone:
"The city of St. Paul is a free-speech zone," Bostrom said. "I say that proudly. I was disappointed when I saw what Boston did (in handling protesters at the 2004 Democratic Convention). I don't understand this idea of putting people in a pen someplace so they can express themselves. That's not the way we will do things."
Nothing will give Denver a bigger black eye than for convention goers to be confronted with protesters in cages and police in riot gear. It was unnecessary in Boston and it's unnecessary here. I hope Mr. Conner communicates with Chief Bostrom and agrees there's a better way.