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"St. Paul police call on other departments for extra cops during the RNC

Out-of-state quest for more officers even includes Boston
By Mara H. Gottfried
[email protected]

Article Last Updated: 08/14/2008 11:53:25 PM CDT

St. Paul police said last week that they've put out feelers to law enforcement agencies in other states about helping out during the Republican National Convention. Now, it's becoming clearer which agencies may be coming and which won't be making the trip.
It had appeared police were contacting law enforcement agencies in surrounding states, but in at least one case, they went farther afield.

A Boston police spokesman said Thursday that an internal request had been put out to Boston officers, seeking interest in going to St. Paul to assist police during the convention. Boston police officer James Kenneally said he didn't know whether there have been any takers. Boston hosted the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Most of the 3,500 police officers expected to be working during the September event are from St. Paul or other Minnesota agencies. St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington said last week that police "are well on our way to having far more than adequate staffing."
Many Minnesota cities or counties have signed joint-powers agreements with St. Paul to provide officers, who will be reimbursed from a $50 million U.S. Department of Justice grant to St. Paul police.
St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh declined Thursday to provide an updated list of agencies that have agreements or to discuss which out-of-state departments St. Paul is talking to.
The Pioneer Press received information Thursday from agencies in other states.
Logistical problems

appear to be delaying or stopping help from some agencies. Madison, Wis., police Capt. Tom Snyder said he contacted St. Paul police in October and expressed interest in sending officers, though there wasn't official approval from his city. It wasn't until Aug. 1 that his department received a fax from St. Paul police asking for officers, Snyder said.
"I know they're busy getting things organized," Snyder said. "Had we sat down and tried to get it done sooner, it may have happened, but it was too late."
The RNC will be Sept. 1-4 at the Xcel Energy Center. Officers in Madison will be busy with the University of Wisconsin football home opener Aug. 30 and an Ironman triathlon just after the RNC, Snyder said.
Also, a special City Council meeting would have been needed to approve a joint-powers agreement with St. Paul, Snyder said.
Calling a City Council meeting in time in Milwaukee also appears to be a problem.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn is interested in sending 36 officers to assist during the convention, according to Thursday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A Milwaukee police spokeswoman didn't return calls seeking comment Thursday.
The Milwaukee Common Council is in August recess, and many members aren't around, council spokesman Bill Arnold said. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 2, though the council president could call a meeting sooner, or five council members could petition for a special meeting, Arnold said.
The particulars of the agreement with St. Paul appear to be a stumbling block for some out-of-state agencies.
St. Paul police asked the Wisconsin State Patrol to send as many as 50 troopers under a mutual aid agreement, Patrol Superintendent David Collins said. Under mutual aid, the Wisconsin State Patrol is limited in its response to adjoining counties to the state, which wouldn't get them farther than Washington County, Collins said.
"I understand the concern and need for officers, and we want it to be successful," he said. "We wish we could help St. Paul."
The Iowa Department of Public Safety had been in initial discussions with St. Paul police, who had asked for 100 officers, said Steve Bogle, executive officer to the department's commissioner.
St. Paul sent a joint-powers agreement to Iowa, and a legal adviser there was concerned about areas where officers wouldn't be indemnified, Bogle said. A $10 million insurance policy is in place for the convention, covering officers from agencies that have signed agreements.
"In the short time that was left, we didn't think we could get there," Bogle said.
Bogle said the agreement might have been workable under the federal Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is how Minnesota officers helped in Iowa this summer during the flooding. In any case, Bogle said, the Iowa State Patrol wouldn't have been able to spare the full contingent that St. Paul was asking for during the busy Labor Day weekend.
Meanwhile, one Minnesota department helping during the convention has scaled back its offer. St. Cloud police had planned to send about 30 officers but now islooking at about eight, said Sgt. Jerry Edblad, a St. Cloud police spokesman. St. Cloud wanted to make sure enough officers were working in the city. Their ranks are down because of injuries and staff on light duty for various reasons, Edblad said.
Mara H. Gottfried can be reached at 651-228-5262."
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