Security assistance for DNC discussed in secret, for now

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By AJ Vicens

Denver-area law enforcement agencies will work together to provide security for the Democratic National Convention in August, and Jefferson County will contribute sheriff's deputies and resources.

But specifics related to Jeffco's plans for the assistance are, for now, being dealt with in secret, as a pre-planning briefing for county commissioners was held behind closed doors April 29.

"We have been given — not just Jefferson County, but all agencies providing support and resources — the instruction not to share information outside of the law enforcement circle," said Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jeffco sheriff's office. "Much of what we're doing is planning and preplanning, and I think the final product and what we're doing right now may differ from each other."

Kelley characterized the April 29 executive session as "information sharing.” She speculated that Jeffco taxpayers may not care about "what we might do; they're probably more interested in what we are going to do."

It is unclear what Jeffco law enforcement is expecting to contribute to the Denver Police Department Aug. 25-28, when thousands of Democrats will throng downtown Denver for the Democratic National Convention. Tens of thousands of media members are expected, and law enforcement will also have to deal with protesters of all varieties.

Who will pay for the Jeffco deputies assigned to convention security on overtime? How many will there be? Who is liable if one of them is hurt? Is county-funded equipment going to be involved? Can the county contribute deputies and still adequately respond to emergencies in Jeffco?

All of those questions will have to wait.

"It's planning right now," Kelley said. "It's possibilities. It really runs the gamut from a very small impact to a huge impact. We're planning for all those things in between, and when we get closer, and we have more support from Denver to talk about what we plan to provide to the situation, we will."

Ellen Wakeman, the acting county attorney, would not comment on questions about planning, other than to say she was comfortable with the decision to have the meeting behind closed doors.

The Colorado Open Meetings Law allows for executive sessions to discuss legal and personnel matters, as well as for considering security issues.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.