Left Behind By the Tampa Republican Convention: A Surveillance State

Can't let that high-tech spook gear go to waste


ST. PETERSBURG — A vast network of surveillance cameras, armored trucks with weapons mounting capabilities and state-of-the-art bulletproof vests strong enough to withstand high-caliber rounds.

Those are just a few of the spoils enjoyed by the Tampa Police Department during the highly anticipated Republican National Convention, which occupied the city from Aug.27-30 and hosted close to 45,000 delegates, guests and members of the media.

But while most of the conventiongoers have long since left Tampa Bay, the millions of dollars in security costs awarded to local police departments have stayed put, engendering a new kind of technological surveillance state never before seen by Florida residents.