There’s nothing virtual about the Milwaukee Police Department’s approach to the Democratic National Convention.
This week, the agency put out a bid for a significant cache of munitions, including smoke grenades, 40mm stinger rubber balls and “riot control grenade continuous discharge.”
It’s the kind of equipment law enforcement uses to quell unruly protests.
Even though delegates won’t be attending what is now primarily a virtual convention, police have said they are preparing for potential demonstrations.
The event will be held Aug. 17-20 at the Wisconsin Center.
Previously, MPD put out to bid a security shopping list that included pepper spray, barricades and a “tactical delivery gas system.”
The latest bid is for MPD “to purchase munitions to be used for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.”
The bid includes an itemized pricing worksheet. The items listed “are representative of those that may be ordered and their prices will be used for evaluation and award purposes,” according to the document.
Thirty items are listed, including: 750 stinger rubber balls, 2,000 exact impact sponge rounds, 750 impact sponge rounds and 500 exact impact marking rounds.
There are also hundreds of smoke grenades listed in a rainbow of colors — white, blue, red, yellow and green.
Another big item: 200 40mm Skat Shells used to shoot multiple canisters of chemical agents or smoke.
The bidding period closes July 30 with delivery by Aug. 13, just in time for the convention.
In a separate bid, MPD is also looking for short-term rental of 110 vehicles.
The city is paying for security for the convention through a $40 million federal grant.
Milwaukee police said in an email that the agency “remains committed to preparing for a safe, secure and successful Democratic National Convention.
“While the number of delegates attending has decreased, there is no indication there will be less members of the public that will be present in and around the event. The police-related equipment in the approved budget was based on what the Milwaukee Police Department had identified as necessary for such an event.
“These items were requested by the Milwaukee Police Department back in February and March 2020 in order to timely receive them in advance of the DNC. The bid process is controlled by the Mayor’s Purchasing Division,” the statement said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement that the police department “is consulting with authorities with expertise to determine what is needed to keep Milwaukee safe during the convention.”
“I am equally if not more focused on making sure that law enforcement personnel are well trained and show appropriate restraint,” Barrett said.