Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Increased security funding for Republican National Convention must prompt intense police training

With increase in funding from federal government for upcoming RNC, all police forces involved should receive training to best protect Milwaukee residents
Shannon Mayne

Both Milwaukee and Chicago will receive a total of $75 million in federal grants to fund security at their respective presidential nominee conventions this summer. While this funding is what Wisconsin legislators hoped for, the influx of funding for security purposes could have some serious consequences on the Milwaukee community, mostly related to the increased police presence.

Milwaukee is set to host the Republican National Convention while Chicago is set to host the Democratic National Convention, host cities which represent the focus both nominees have on the Midwest as a powerful voting bloc.

The increase in funding was requested by many Wisconsin legislators and Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman, who at a Milwaukee luncheon pressed President Joe Biden about the increase in funding himself.


Norman said to WisPolitics that over the past 20 years the funding for such conventions had remained steady at $50 million, though prices and inflation grew steadily. Norman claims the $50 million would not be enough to confront the security challenges in 2024.

This thought was similarly echoed by Wisconsin’s congressional delegation who claimed that host cities have had a difficult time absorbing security costs into their own budgets and waiting for federal reimbursement on those costs, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

With the additional funding, there is the possibility of 4,500 police officers from other areas and agencies across Wisconsin coming to Milwaukee to assist in security protections related to the RNC.

But, while all 10 of Wisconsin’s lawmakers at the national level were open about their support for increased security funding, not all of them voted for this package, with many opposing other additives to the federal funding bill that they deemed unnecessary.

This extra funding is added in the government’s Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies spending bill which passed Wednesday, March 6 to avoid a potential government shutdown according to the Journal Sentinel. The bill includes many provisions other than the additional increase in funding, totaling about $460 billion intended to fund half of the government until September. But before the threat of a government shutdown is fully avoided, another spending bill must be passed in both houses by March 22.

While most Wisconsin representatives chose to vote for this bill and the extra funding it will give to Milwaukee and Chicago, others were wary about the other provisions present in the bill.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI-07) are the two most notable, according to the Journal Sentinel. The two Republicans took issue with separate portions of the bill, with Tiffany claiming that the debt this spending will incur is too great and does not actually benefit the safety of the general public and Johnson suggesting the addition of stronger border protections.

So while neither of these Wisconsin representatives were against the additional funding for the RNC itself, there are certainly some risks that come with such an increase in security-based funding, especially in Milwaukee.

For one, the Milwaukee Police Department has a strained relationship with the city’s population. In 2023, the rate of complaints made by Milwaukee citizens against the department increased, even amidst the department claiming to lower interactions with individuals, according to FOX6 News.

This relationship is not new — in 2021 a USA Today poll surveyed Milwaukee residents and their opinion on the local police department. Of the poll, only 35% said the police were doing a good or excellent job, with 61% claiming the department had fair or poor performance. USA Today states that Black residents were particularly opinionated about this, with only 1% of Black residents claiming the police department did an excellent job.

Inviting thousands more police officers into the Milwaukee area would likely not improve this strained relationship. Additionally, the Milwaukee Police Department violated compliance with the Collins settlement in 2023, which is meant to protect citizens against racial profiling in policing practices. A Crime and Justice Institute report meant to ensure this settlement was not violated found that Black Milwaukee residents were 4.5 times more likely to be stopped by a police officer, 10 times more likely to have a field interview with an officer and eight times more likely to be frisked by a police officer than a white Milwaukee resident.

If more police officers were to be trained and educated by the Milwaukee Police Department on how to police Milwaukee residents during the RNC, this could result in more racial profiling. This is especially dangerous as that puts the 38.9% of the Milwaukee population who are Black at serious risk for being stopped, frisked or even arrested by a police officer for just existing.

Safety is important, especially at such a big convention like the RNC which welcomes important political figures from all over the nation. But before Milwaukee invites thousands of police officers into the city, they must ensure that those officers are being trained properly.

This is a big ask, but the first step is to start with the Milwaukee Police Department and verify that they are complying with the Collins settlement and are avoiding racial biases present in their policing.

Additionally, the Milwaukee Police Department should focus on building connections with Milwaukee residents and actually develop relationships with community members. Then this training should be passed on to the incoming officers to make certain that everyone working security at the RNC is on the same page about behavior and policing strategies.

Essentially, though a higher police presence is needed during the RNC, that doesn’t mean officers shouldn’t have incredibly extensive training on how to avoid racial profiling and learn to actually build connections with the Milwaukee community. These trainings are needed to ensure that both RNC attendees and Milwaukee residents are as safe as possible during the RNC.

Emily Otten is a senior majoring in journalism.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *