Last week I had the opportunity to spend several days on a walking tour of downtown Tampa during the Republican National Convention. Although it had been reported that more than 5,000 protesters were expected, few actually materialized. The estimates of the number of LEOs did, however, appear to be accurate.
Perhaps due to the weather (Tropical Storm/Hurricane Issac) the number of protesters were in the hundreds, not thousands. While the protesters seemed to be intimidated by some wind and rain the LEOs were not. I have seen estimates that there were several thousand LEOs on the ground and based upon my observations I have no trouble believing those estimates.
From Kennedy Blvd. South, there were groups of LEOs on many street corners and manning numerous road barricades as well as many checkpoints. In addition to these manned positions we saw numerous large groups of LEOs patrolling the streets. Mounted patrols were ubiquitous – horses and bicycles. There were also large groups of LEO marching in formation. Although, I personally find militarized LEOs a cause for serious concern, these men and women were exceptionally well-behaved.
I am inclined to give much of the credit for the exemplary conduct of the LEOs to the Nation Press Photographers Association and its General Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher. Mickey, has served as a consultant to LE on the RNC and DNC with respect to LEOs interactions with the press. It appears that his work was a complete success.