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MPD: Summerfest security budget inadequate

Posted at 2:25 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 15:45:05-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police are staffing more officers for Summerfest safety during the Big Gig —but the dollars they receive fall short of all the services police provide. Thursday morning, the department updated the Harbor Commission on the escalating Summerfest security costs.

“We want to make citizens in out city feel as safe as possible, especially attending such a major event,” Assistant Police Chief, Michael Brunson, said.

And they are for the most part, but Milwaukee Police are under contract and the money they take home for the services provided during Summerfest doesn’t necessarily add up.

“It’s not my job to ask for a pay increase my job is to provide and work through my personnel and the personnel of the Milwaukee Police Department directed by the chief to make the city as safe as possible,” Assistant Chief Brunson said.

In 2009, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. which produces Summerfest, signed a contract agreeing to pay the city for police and fire services through the year 2030. This year, Summerfest paid the city roughly $134,000 for staffing police during the festival, but Milwaukee Police said they put the full force of the department behind securing Summerfest which equates to about $800,000. That's nearly a nearly $700,000 difference which affects the city budget and taxpayer dollars as police try to be proactive.

“We plan months in advance for all types of special events to make sure that we’re prepared as much as possible to address any threat that may occur,” Assistant Chief Brunson said.

The proposed pay increase discussion now moves forward and will be taken up during a joint meeting between finance and marketing.