Local law enforcement pulls out of DNC security

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 3:36 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - According to a safety plan issued by the Secret Service, heightened security is still expected this week in Milwaukee for the mostly digital Democratic National Convention.

But, as the once highly anticipated spectacle has whittled down because of the pandemic, so have security protocols. Security zones have changed substantially, and many local law enforcement agencies are no longer lending a hand to assist with security.

The Madison Police Department is one of more than 100 local law departments that have pulled out of their agreements to help. Officials with MPD say they are choosing to focus on efforts at home.

Many other agencies, according to the Associated Press, have cited concerns over directives issued by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission for law enforcement to cease the use of tear gas and pepper spray at demonstrations.

“You can deescalate and back away from a situation and see if it diffuses itself, but you cannot let people take over,” said retired officer and veteran AJ Andrzejewski.

After decades with the DeKalb County Police Department in Georgia, retired Capt. Andrzejewski offered his perspective on the conversation. Despite long-term collaboration, he says law enforcement leaders are likely worried about putting their officers in harm’s way during large events.

“We want to go to work,” he said. “We want to get home to our families.”

When asked, party leaders did not say they were concerned about the lack of local agency involvement.

“The DNC is working with state and local law enforcement to make sure the convention is still safe,” said Wisconsin Director for the Joe Biden campaign Danielle Melfi.

Several protests have been scheduled throughout the duration of the DNC, although the size and nature of those demonstrations remains unclear.

No one is allowed inside the venue without a ticket. The Secret Service is also setting up a health safety zone at the venue.

All attendees are encouraged to wear masks.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.