Philadelphia upgrading radios, helmets with convention grant

AP News
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Posted: May 10, 2016 5:28 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia is planning to upgrade its emergency radio system and buy some new helmets for its motorcycle unit with some of the millions of dollars it's getting to host the Democratic National Convention, the mayor's office said Tuesday.

The city's federal security grant for the event will total $43 million, said Mike Dunn, a spokesman for Mayor Jim Kenney.

The initial spending plan includes more than $8 million for personnel; more than $9.6 million for supplies like batteries for smartphones and motorcycle helmets; and $7.7 million for bigger equipment purchases, including 800 megahertz public safety radios.

The Office of Emergency Management would not provide a breakdown of how many radios or helmets or other emergency equipment it is buying, citing security reasons.

Spokeswoman Noelle Foizen said the helmets "will support dignitary transport during the convention."

The July 25-28 convention is expected to draw 50,000 visitors.

Cleveland was given about $50 million for security preparations ahead of the Republican National Convention it is hosting in July. The city plans to buy 2,000 riot-control suits with collapsible batons.

Cleveland also had put out bids to buy more than 300 sets of long-sleeve jackets, gloves and shin guards. That equipment would serve as riot-control gear for police officers riding bicycles. The city also sought to buy 300 bicycles, 15 motorcycles, 25 sets of tactical armor and enough 3.5-foot-high interlocking steel barriers to cover about three miles.

The Philadelphia convention's host committee announced Tuesday it has recruited more than 16,000 volunteers to help out during the event.

"We are thrilled with the overwhelming level of support we have received so quickly from the Greater Philadelphia community and beyond," said Kevin Washo, the host committee's executive director. He said exceeding the goal of 10,000 volunteers shows "residents from across the city, region and country are excited about this event and want to be a part of it."