Fulton police parade support could cost

Council considers charge for services to offset overtime pay, currently footed out of city coffers

Organizers of parades, road races and other events in Fulton that require support from law enforcement may soon have to add a new line item to their budgets.

During Tuesday night’s city council work session, Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers recommended the city start charging for police support — such as manning street crossings and directing traffic flow — during such events. Ordinarily, police presence at such events is paid for out of the department’s overtime budget, but with an ever-increasing number of such requests, that has become an expensive option for the city.

“As you know, right now we don’t charge for any of our services,” Myers told the council members. “With the economy the way it is, I think we could and should charge for police services for events and parades and 5Ks.”

Myers said he and Director of Administration Bill Johnson have looked into the issue and discovered that a number of other communities around the state do charge for police and other emergency support.

He acknowledged that organizations wanting to put on a parade or race certainly could have volunteers work less-traveled side streets, but noted that “I think we need police presence at each and every one,” especially at major intersections.

“My recommendation would be that if you all do decide to do this, I would like to pick what intersections an officer would be required to be at,” Myers said.

Councilman Mike West said he understood the request, but questioned “where do we draw the line?”

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