Indiana State Police Pay Ping Pong with Crowds at RNC

It's the fourth day of protests and heavy security in Cleveland, during the 2016 Republican National Convention, but police have been playful when they're not protecting the public. As temperatures spiked into the 90s, a handful of Indiana state troopers challenged crowds to friendly games of ping pong next to REBoL, a cafe in Cleveland's Public Square. Troopers and citizens took turns playing, though no winner was named. It was a sweet moment of comradery in a week full of heated protests and arrests in the city. Gabe Niardi of Columbus, Ohio played several rounds with one trooper, before walking off, grinning, "That was cool, man."The same Indiana troopers stopped to play Pokemon GO with a syracuse.com reporter earlier this week. This week is the first time Trooper Curtis Jones has visited Cleveland, and he said it's been a great experience. "Coming here, we were expecting the worst and hoping for the best," said Jones, of Indiana. "Everything's turned out far better than we could have imagined. Everybody in Cleveland has been kind. "All week, Curtis said citizens have been thanking him and his colleagues, and asking to take photographs with them. The Indiana state troopers are just one of the many out-of-state groups, called in to back up the Cleveland Police Department. The city prepared heavily for this week, if protests grew into dangerous riots. As part of its security plan, Cleveland organized a massive police force of 5,000 officers, recruiting from surrounding suburbs and nearby states to bolster its existing force of about 1,200. Cleveland.com reported the city intended to buy 2,000 sets of riot gear, including riot-control suits and collapsible batons. Cleveland received $50 million in federal money to pay for security during the RNC. Mayor Frank Jackson's administration planned to spend roughly $30 million of the grant on personnel and $20 million on equipment.

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