The City of Philadelphia received official confirmation this week that it will be getting $43 million from the federal government to cover security costs during the Democratic National Convention.

The money will go towards personnel and overtime costs as well as a variety of supplies ranging from public safety radios to motorcycle helmets and extension cords. The city also plans to spend half-million dollars on private security to help local law enforcement.

"These funds will help us make sure we pull off a successful convention," Brian Abernathy, first deputy managing director, said. The convention will be held July 25- 28 at the Wells Fargo Center with parties and related events all throughout town.

Any operational costs that are not security-related such as providing extra trash pick-ups will be picked up by the taxpayers, Abernathy said. He doesn't expect that the city's tab will be too much. Although, he does not yet have an estimated city cost.

Some of the equipment will be purchased through bidding procedures. Others might be purchased through existing city contracts.

"We're working with procurement to see what needs to be bid on," Abernathy said.

The Department of Justice was expected to provide up to $50 million in a security grant for the DNC as well as another $50 million for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. In its grant application, Philadelphia had to list out in detail how the money would be spent.

"Only direct security/public safety activities are eligible," city spokesman Mike Dunn wrote in an email. "Buying things unnecessarily could put us in a precarious position down the road."

The following is a summary breakdown of how the city plans to spend the $43 million.


Total Amount





Personnel expenses for public safety and security agencies.

-          Philadelphia Police

-          Philadelphia Fire

-          Prisons

-          Sheriff

-          Agencies working in Emergency Operations Center



Travel, food, and per diem expenses.

-          Food costs for law enforcement and public safety agencies working Convention events.



Items procured that will be used in support of the Convention operations, but also used by city departments for future events and operations.

-          800 MHz public safety radios

-          Plume modeling technology



Items procured that are consumables (less than $5,000 unit cost).

-          Chargers and surplus batteries for smart phones.

-          Traffic cones

-          AEDs

-          Motorcycle helmets

-          Extension cords



Mutual aid reimbursement for partner agencies.

-          PA State Police

-          Regional Bomb Squads

-          Specialized law enforcement support from neighboring jurisdictions



Contracts with external vendors to provide material support security, public safety, and Convention operations. 

-          Radio programming

-          Secure transportation systems

-          Leasing of parking lots surrounding venue

-          Secure credential system



Contracts with external vendors to provide personnel support for security, public safety, and Convention operations.

-          Private security to supplement local law enforcement



Miscellaneous expenses including rented equipment and vehicles and support items.

-          Vehicle rentals to support law enforcement and fire operations

-          Vehicle rentals for dignitary movements

-          Portable bathrooms

-          Fuel





- Staff writers Tricia L. Nadolny and Julia Terruso contributed to this post.

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