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A fair way to shave $9K in police OT
Manteca leaders nix extra police presence at street fair
There won’t be additional police presence for the 13th annual Crossroads Street Fair in downtown Manteca April 4-5 as part of a municipal budget cutting move. - photo by Bulletin file photo


• WHAT: Crossroads of California Street Fair
• WHEN: Saturday, April 4 & Sunday April 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• WHERE: Downtown Manteca
• MORE INFO: For booth space, call the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau at 823-7229

Manteca Police officers won’t be out in full force for the 13th annual Crossroads Street Fair in downtown April 4-5.

City leaders Tuesday pulled the plug on having police officers staff the two-day event that attracts 45,000 visitors to avoid paying $8,800 in police overtime costs.

Having eight officers each day plus a mounted patrol unit and gang officers assigned exclusively to the street fair is a luxury the Manteca City Council decided the community can do without given the potential for an $11.3 million deficit in the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1.

Police Chief Dave Bricker assured council members that the street fair falls on two heavily staffed days and that if any call for assistance came into the department from the street fair locale that officers already scheduled to be on duty that day could respond to it immediately.

He could cite only one incident in the last four years where there was a fight at the street fair and that was actually associated with a business located downtown that has since closed.

Bricker said a review of the municipal code does not require police or security coverage since there is no admission being charged or alcohol being served.

“The Street Fair is a community shopping event,” Bricker noted in a memo Tuesday that was circulated to the council. “It generally attracts families and results in a very low demand for police service. While police officers have always been assigned to the event, it has been at the discretion of the (Police) Department and not the specific request of the Convention & Visitors Bureau.”

Part of the costs is for community service officers to help staff Megan’s Law and crime prevention booths during the street fair along with Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police (SHARP) volunteers.

“We are going to use volunteers to operate the Megan’s Law booth,” noted Manteca Police Public Affairs officer Rex Osborn.

He indicated Crime Stoppers board members, the Citizens Emergency Response Team, and citizen police academy members are going to be trained to help out. This strategy will also be employed for the upcoming fishing derby, farmers market and other events.

The CVB has used Police Explorers for the past 12 years to provide overnight security and to help coordinate the set up of booths. They have been donating $1,000 annually to the Explorer program in exchange for the help.

The council did agree to take $2,140.08 from the $5,900 remaining in the $8,000 budget item to help offset city expenses connected with major community events. That money will pay the streets division $1,510.27 for various services including placing and removing barricades and establishing detours plus cover the cost of disposing of generated trash from the two-day fair.

Mayor Willie Weatherford – who is a retired Manteca Police chief – called the staffing “terribly expensive” in making the initial pitch not to have added law enforcement presence.

The two-day street fair is expected to pump $375,000 into the Manteca economy with additional hotel stays, gasoline purchased and restaurant meals on top of whatever may be spent with local vendors that participate in the fair along with traveling craftsmen and other out-of-town participants.

The city is being allotted 17 free booth spaces to provide the public information on everything from recycling to recreation programs.

Councilman Steve DeBrum noted the city more than receives its investment through the booth space they are not charged for.

The city is already shifting the Fourth of July activities at the Big League Dreams sports complex plus the fireworks show to the evening of July 3 to avoid overtime on top of holiday pay. There has been no discussion about moving the Fourth of July parade up a day. The city would incur holiday overtime instead of straight overtime by keeping the Fourth of July parade on July 4.