GOP convention security in St. Paul may be sounds like a “good cop” story:
There will be no police officers infiltrating protest organizations, [St. Paul police official in charge of convention security Matt]Bostrom promised. Police will be in uniform, not war-like tactical gear, he said. There will be no contract cops, similar to the Blackwater security forces. St. Paul police, not the Secret Service, will be in charge of policing outside the convention site at Xcel Energy Center.
“The city of St. Paul is a free-speech zone,” Bostrom said. “I say that proudly. I was disappointed when I saw what Boston did (in handling protesters at the 2004 Democratic Convention). I don't understand this idea of putting people in a pen someplace so they can express themselves. That's not the way we will do things.”
I hope both cops and protesters can keep things peaceful. I've seen a lot of these things go bad, with plenty of blame to go around, but Boston (and NYC for that matter) was a disaster, and it shouldn't be too difficult for officials to do better for the 2008 conventions.
With the growing unrest in the Democratic Party grassroots, not to mention otherwise affiliated political activists, it might be more likely for problems from angry protesters in Denver more than St. Paul.