Committee Authorizes Convention Money for SWAT Vehicle, Communications Equipment

    The Denver City Council’s Safety Committee authorized the use of $20 million in federal funds for security regarding the Democratic National Convention today, with $200,000 allocated to purchase a new police SWAT vehicle and $950,000 set for an interagency communication system with equipment.

    Committee members also approved $1.9 million to cover worker’s compensation insurance for members of law enforcement who will be working during the convention.Specific expenditures for equipment over $50,000 and contracts over $500,000 must be approved by the City Council as a whole, while purchases under those amounts can be designated by the committee and law enforcement officials through the city’s regular procurement process.

    According to Councilman Doug Linkhart, chairman of the Safety Committee, the panel today authorized a total of $3.4 million in funds for specific expenditures like the SWAT vehicle, communications equipment and the worker’s compensation costs, although the rest of the $20 million discussed today will go toward  additional equipment or personnel costs that have not been given specific details.

    “We’re going to try and be as open as possible, but there will be some things even I and the mayor’s office don’t know,” said Linkhart in a Colorado Confidential story in April.

    Denver council members have already approved $5 million of the security funds appropriated by Congress, funding a heavy rescue vehicle, a hazardous materials response vehicle, a unified incident command post, and an urban search and rescue unit.

    Lawmakers in Congress have appropriated a total of $50 million in federal funds to pay for security at the convention, set for Aug. 25-28, and so far city officials have designated approximately $25 million of the funds during meetings — $5 million of which has been approved by the entire council.

    Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at