Illinois won't send police officers to Cleveland for GOP convention

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Illinois law enforcement agencies may be the only ones in the Midwest not represented at the GOP convention in Cleveland. (WLS)

Illinois police agencies will not be sending officers to help at the Republican National Convention next week in Cleveland, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

Illinois - or Illi-No - may be the only Midwestern law enforcement not represented.

Not one police agency from Illinois will be at the convention, which runs July 18-21, to serve or protect despite it being a political event that is being shored up for all sorts of trouble. But the absence of law enforcement from here isn't a snub.

In fact, cops here want to go, but the I-Team has learned the decision came after months of negotiations about a ticklish Ohio state law.

"This really is a huge undertaking, it's not just the Cleveland convention it's the Northeastern Ohio Republican National convention and in many respects with the number of officers coming from across the county. It is America's convention," said Ronald Rowe, of the U.S. Secret Service.

During the convention, the streets of Cleveland will be chock full of nearly 3,000 police from other states, counties and cities outside of Ohio.

However, an Ohio state law limits law enforcement assistance only from states that share a border with Ohio.

That's why troopers are going to Cleveland from Michigan and Indiana, which share borders with Ohio.

"It's not costing the citizens of Indiana any money at all. The time, the equipment, if there might be an injury, whatever the cost is associated with being there, it won't fall on the backs of the Indiana taxpayers," said Supt. Doug Carter, of the Indiana State Police.

Despite Illinois' money problems, money wasn't the issue that caused Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) to decline a Cleveland deployment two months ago.

ILEAS records reveal extensive negotiations with Cleveland officials last summer to provide as many as 150 local officers; and a trip to Cleveland in December by Illinois and Chicago police to work through legal and insurance issues for police during the convention -- questions that Cleveland officials today are still answering.

"We did have cities that pledged their support that de-pledged to us, that has happened. But as of June 24, we requested no more assistance. We hit all of our numbers, we hit all of our goals," said Deputy Chief Police Edward Tomba, of the Cleveland Police Department.

The law deterring Illinois police from sending officers to Cleveland is apparently being overlooked by some other states even further from Ohio. Departments in Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado and Washington state are sending in officers.

Related Topics:
politicsrepublicans2016 republican national convention - rncu.s. & worldpoliceOhioIndiana
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