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Festivals pay part of police presence

June 17, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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The Italian Festival was new to Butler in 2017.

Organizations planning festivals in downtown Butler like the Jeep Invasion last weekend or the upcoming Italian Festival must budget for a significant police presence.

According to the city police officers' union contract, the city police exclusively provide security at all downtown festivals, according to Deputy Police Chief David Adam.

“In this day and age, people like to see a significant police presence at a large event,” Adams said.

Festival and parade organizers cannot hire a private firm to handle event security because it would breach the police contract, Adams said.

Also, the event organizers must pay the city 25 percent of the total cost of the police overtime to provide officers for the event.

Adams said about nine or 10 officers work on the day of a large event in the downtown area, while five officers typically work on a Saturday.

According to annual overtime summaries provided by the city clerk's office, the city in 2016 incurred $17,242 in police overtime for seven festivals.

No reimbursement was charged for four of the events, so the total reimbursement from the remaining events was $2,671.

In 2017, a total of $24,933 in overtime expenses was incurred over eight festivals, four of which saw the 25 percent reimbursement from the organizer. The new festival last year, the Italian Festival, saw the highest police overtime costs of all the festivals at $8,600.

The least expensive 2017 festival regarding police overtime expense was the Memorial Day Parade, at $918.

Read more about this story in Monday's Butler Eagle.

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