In an interview with WTMJ-TV on Tuesday, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said that over 100 law enforcement have opted out of commitments to send officers to assist security measures for the Democratic National Convention next month.
According to the chief, the withdrawals stem from the city's efforts to restrict or prohibit police use of tear gas and pepper spray when confronted with violent and dangerous rioters.
"Since the Milwaukee order was issued, more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin and across the country decided against coming…They were concerned with directives placed on the police department, including not allowing tear gas or pepper spray," Morales said.
Among the departments that pulled out of the event were those in the neighboring cities of Franklin and Waukesha, Wisconsin, with both respective police chiefs expressing their frustration with the situation.
Franklin Chief Rick Oliva blasted what he called "a lack of commitment" to provide officers with the necessary resources to "ensure the safety of peaceful protesters, attendees, citizens, and police personnel."
"I cannot send personnel if they are not properly equipped or will not be allowed to engage in appropriate actions which would ensure their safety," Oliva said.
Waukesha Chief Daniel Thompson echoed those sentiments in his own statement:
"I understand that use of chemical irritants and pepper spray is serious and those are to be used only when legally justified," Thompson said. "But when you take that out of the continuum that doesn't leave the officers much other than getting harmed or using deadly force and that's not good for any officer or the public."
The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to run from August 17 through the 20, with only two hours of televised primetime coverage planned for each night.