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Politics / Issues

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor Talks RNC Safety

Jane Castor.png

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor says she's ready for the Republican National Convention.

That doesn't mean she is underestimating what a huge security challenge this is.

"I knew from doing my research that this was probably going to be the biggest event that I would be involved in, in my law enforcement career," Castor said in an interview with WUSF's Florida Matters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruMhv6WKJ6g

While Tampa  law enforcement has handled several big events in the area like the Super Bowl and Gasparilla, Castor says she expects the Republican National Convention will be different.

"Opposed to a Super Bowl where people are just coming to view the activities and Gasparilla to a degree, you have various groups with very, very different opinions and viewpoints that are coming here to express those opinions and  viewpoints," she said.

She says she expects that most protestors will be peaceful and organized, but says the agency is prepared to deal with those who are not.

"There are those individuals that come to these events for the sole purpose of disruption," she said. "Those are the individuals that we are concerned about right now."

Castor adds that the convention will require a large amount of law enforcement resources.

"These conventions historically has necessitated 3,500 to 4,000 police officers to ensure that it's a safe event," she said.

There are just over 1,000 officers in the Tampa Police Department. Castor is counting on help from other agencies as well across the state including around 1,200 officers from the sheriff's office.

"Then we have our partners in Pinellas County, St. Pete, Clearwater, Lakeland, who will be assisting us as well," she said. "We will be getting law enforcement resources from as far south as down in the Miami area."