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DNC security footprint to get smaller, more police departments withdrawing officers

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With three weeks to go until the start of the Democratic National Convention in downtown Milwaukee, major changes are still underway.

Fencing has gone up around the Wisconsin Center where the DNC was shifted, and there are clues the security plan for the convention will be smaller.

"We have seen on the Republican side what a fiasco it has become with President Trump rejecting Charlotte, going to Jacksonville, being forced to reject Jacksonville," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

He said he's glad that kind of pandemic drama has not derailed the DNC in Milwaukee, but the security plans are still in flux. Milwaukee police told the federal government they're expecting 1,100 outside police officers to come help, down from 3,000.

"They have made an internal recommendation as to how many officers they need," said Barrett.

But as CBS 58 reported Monday, police departments across Wisconsin are canceling their contracts to support MPD with officers on the ground during the DNC.

"That is a very big concern for us," said Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.

Police departments said the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission's directive ordering Morales to stop using tear gas and pepper spray on protesters puts their own officers at risk. Fond du Lac, Franklin, West Allis, and Greendale have all told CBS 58 they've pulled their officers.

"If we don't have the law enforcement entities that are trained to deal with community, then we have to resort to other options such as other militarized options," said Morales.

The Westown Business Alliance told CBS 58 the areas east of the Milwaukee River and north of West State Street won't be included in the updated security footprint. The downtown area won't be locked down, but the Alliance said there will be checkpoints in place.

The U.S. Secret Service told us it will release the final details about the altered security zone and checkpoints soon.

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