APD asks for overtime to cover special events

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Updated Monday, May 6 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- When President Obama or other large events come to town the Austin Police Department gets to work to preparing for several aspects from parking to security. Each event brings in crowds, commerce and concerns, but who's paying for it?

"We either divert resources from other parts of the city or use overtime dollars," said Austin Police Assistant Chief David Carter.

Wayne Vincent is president of the Austin Police Officer's Association. He's asking the City to require the vendors to pay the cost instead of taxpayers.

"It's becoming a big deal. With all these special events coming to town the department's having to take resources that are already strapped and put them working for the vendors, basically," said Vincent.

Organizers say this year's South by Southwest cost the City approximately $600,000 in overtime for security -- a small portion of their budget.

"We're actually asking for an additional $415,000 for special events related to overtime," said Carter.

Mike Levy sits on the Public Safety Commission.

"Are the special events paying enough in overtime, or is APD having to put more resources in? Then what happens, of course, is officers who are on duty are also having to come in for special events. They're being sucked in for special calls, and that takes officers away from neighborhoods," said Levy.

A study released last year reveals APD is under-staffed.

"The community is not served like that. We need to find a way to fund extra money to pay police officers so they're not taking away from their workload," said Vincent.

The Public Safety Commission will consider these issues at their next meeting.

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