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Downtown Police Presence Comforts Some, Scares Others

Jaclyn Allen,
ABC [1]
Monday, Aug 25, 2008

DENVER — Denver’s police chief said his officers had to be prepared for anything, and on Sunday, it seemed they were.

One observer commented that downtown looked more like a police state than a political convention, with officers on almost every corner, military helicopters overhead, snipers on top of buildings.

“Part of the reason I’m deploying people like that is so people feel comfortable,” said Gerry Whitman, Denver’s police chief. “Because I think there is some anxiety about the size of the event, the fact that the federal government is involved. People have read a lot of things. They’ve seen things in other countries. I want them to feel comfortable.”

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Denver has tapped about 52 other agencies for help during the Democratic National Convention, spending almost all of its $50 million security budget on staffing.

“I think it’s too much,” said David Adams, who was in downtown Denver protesting the war. “It doesn’t make people feel safer, it makes them more tense. People feel like something is definitely going to happen.”