CLEVELAND, Ohio (KXAN) – More than five thousand police officers from around the country are in Cleveland this week to help with security during the Republican National Convention.
The Austin Police Department offered around 90 officers from their special response team. They’re part of the show of force to keep the peace just outside the convention arena.
Nationally, it’s a tense situation because of unrest over police shooting black men and black men shooting police. But, in Cleveland, the sheer numbers of the officers on the streets from around the country keep it calm.
“As I understand it, this is the first time in history that we’ve had so many police agencies come together to support a city,” said APD Assistant Chief Frank Dixon.
Dixon is one of the APD officers patrolling Cleveland’s main thoroughfares this week. Many times during the day, people from Austin and total strangers come up to thank them for being here. But, at any moment, they could be called in to help with a large protest.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown Cleveland to voice their opinion Wednesday. According to the Cleveland Police Department Twitter page, two officers were assaulted during those protests. Both officers have minor injuries.
“Traditionally, the number one determiner of crime is police presence, officer presence,” Assistant Chief Dixon said. “So that’s why whenever we’re having an uptick in crime, locally or on a state or national level, you see a lot of officer presence to deter crime.”
Officers work in twelve hour shifts, noon to midnight. Half of the time they walk the area. The other half they wait to respond to a protest or an arrest. But, every second they’re representing the city of Austin.
The city of Cleveland received $50 million dollars from the Federal Government to pay for all of this security. Local tax dollars are not footing the bill.
There have been six arrests during the week so far, none of those were from Austin police. APD was not involved in the incident Wednesday afternoon.