Monday, November 03, 2008

Mayor, Louisville Police to Charge Special Fees for "Protection"

In today's C-J, there is an article that should disturb anyone that believes in the right to free assembly. Read it HERE.

I really believe that this will end up at the point where normal citizens will have to pony up some money in order to protest, peacefully gather or assemble in public in any other way. Although they will say you are still be free to assemble in public, you will probably have to pay a fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you cannot gather. This is crazy. The Mayor and his cops are charging charities "police fees". Something we already pay taxes for. How long before it will be applied to other groups of people? The ACLU filed a lawsuit last July on this type of nuttiness in New Jersey.

If we had some representation on the council, (am I really saying this?) someone would come out in a thoughtful way to remove and prohibit these types of fees on charities, interest groups or anyone else. I don't give a damn if other cities are doing it. Our city shouldn't. And it is an issue that a councilman from Southwest Louisville should grab and run with.

Contact the mayor, and tell him we do not want our constitutional rights to be taxed by the city. You can see him Monday,November 17 at the next Community Conversation at Pleasure Ridge Park High School. The meeting starts at 6:30pm. Or you may email the mayor HERE.

UPDATE: 5:00PM, 11/03/2008

Below is the message I sent Mayor Abramson this afternoon and his reply:


You must drop this stupid idea of making people pay for a police presence for their events. It will hurt charities and, I believe, will soon be expanded into making ANY groups that meet publicly pay for a cop that has to show up. This is ridiculous, like having people pay to use public parks.

Save what is left of your legacy. Drop this nonsense now, please.


Dear Mr. Tucker,

Thanks for taking the time to write about the fees involved in community events like road races. This was not a decision we made lightly, as we understood that many community events would be affected.

We had been able to provide traffic control services for community events for a long time with little cost to the event organizers.

However, a number of factors have challenged our police department's ability to accommodate every event.

First, on any given weekend from early spring to the holiday season, there are at least two or three events that require police coordination (traffic control, crowd control, street closures and the like). Every officer that we assign to those details is either assigned there as part of a regular shift, which takes that officer away from other police work, or is an overtime assignment, which costs much more per hour. The number of requests we get for police coverage continues to grow, straining our resources further.

Many of these events are for several hundred to a couple thousand people. In the larger perspective, we have to balance the safety interests of the entire community of 700,000 residents with the needs of a road race that could involve 500 people.

Second, in every instance where event organizers have indicated they'll have trouble paying for the traffic service, our officers have offered to help find alternatives. The fees are not static; fewer major intersections blocked means fewer officers needed. We can work with organizers to find other routes to meet the needs of the event while not overwhelming city resources.

We remain committed to the Healthy Hometown Movement, and our police department is more than cooperative with organizers to help find ways to continue events that meet their budget needs. In these tight economic times, I am sure you can understand how critical it is that we spend taxpayer dollars wisely.

Thanks again for writing, and if I may be of service, please don't hesitate to contact me.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a problem with it, so long as it applies to EVERYONE. Remember when the sheriff's department actually had folks that would do this, at no charge? They still have those unpaid deputies, but you sure can't get them to do ANYTHING.