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DENVER -- The federal government has agreed to reimburse Denver for the $1.85 million in upfront costs of liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance to cover outside police during the Democratic National Convention.
Earlier this month, news of the costs raised concerns among some council members who feared the federal government wouldn't authorize reimbursement for that spending.
Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's administration had assured her the federal government had agreed it was a reimbursable cost.
Faatz made her comments during the weekly meeting between the council and the mayor's office. Hickenlooper was absent.
The administration had said the policies were needed to pave the way for non-Denver police to assist in security during the Aug. 25-28 convention.
The council also will soon consider approving a $947,364 contract for a wireless camera system from Avrio Group for security during the convention. The money would be reimbursed from funds provided by a $50 million federal grant to cover security costs related to the convention.
Deputy Safety Manager Mel Thompson said he could not give full details on that system because of security concerns, but he said it would be installed in downtown Denver.
Late last year, police officials said a network of three or four wireless cameras that could be moved to other locations costs between $10,000 and $12,000.
Police officials also said they are developing standards for video surveillance and have rules in place, including prohibitions on using the cameras for voyeurism. The Police Department will be able to continue to use the system once the convention is over, he said.
Civil libertarians have raised concerns about the cameras, saying they will intrude on privacy.
Re-create 68 organizer Glenn Spagnuolo, who is organizing protests during the convention, said the money was being misspent.
He said his group is trying to determine where existing security cameras have been installed and will try to detect locations for whatever else is bought. "We feel this is getting ridiculous," he said. "It's the over-militarization of the community."
He added that "something is wrong when schools are being closed in Denver while tax funds are being used to purchase this."
The council will soon consider two additional convention-related purchases: a $588,550 contract for a computer-aided dispatch system and a $677,560 purchase for a unified mobile command unit. Both would be reimbursable expenditures.
Christopher N. Osher: 303-954-1747 or email@example.com.