After more than four hours behind closed doors in Hinds County Chancery Court, legal teams for the City of Jackson and the Mississippi Fair Commission emerged with an agreement. Twenty police officers will patrol the area outside the state fair grounds and direct traffic beginning today. Ten will be off-duty officers under contract with the fair commission and ten will be paid by the city. Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber.
"We're using officers who would typically be working and as they're typically working that eight hour shift, we're not going to be accruing any additional overtime," said Yarber.
It's far less than the 70 officers the city has provided in the past. But, Yarber says, they can't afford the $325,000 it would cost. He says the city has cut the police and fire department budgets and furloughed city workers. The fair commission filed a lawsuit to force them to provide security, saying they don't have the statutory authority to pay for the services. Police Chief Lee Vance.
"Numbers wise it's going to be less, but we're committed to making it work," said Vance.
Vance says, the officers that work the fair won't be pulled from those patrolling neighborhoods. Department of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith says officers with other state agencies will also be out.
"The state fire marshals will be there as always and you'll see an increase in that. So, you're numbers are going to be there they just may not have on the uniform that you're expecting or may be have seen in the past," said Hyde-Smith.
Hinds County Sheriff's deputies will patrol inside the fairgrounds. The Mississippi Fair Commission agreed they will seek funding from the legislature to pay for police security at all future state fairs and Dixie National Rodeos.