- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi State Fair Commission is suing the city of Jackson to try to force the police department to provide security and traffic control outside the fairgrounds.

The 12-day state fair starts Wednesday.

The commission filed a complaint Friday in Hinds County Chancery Court, and a hearing on the complaint is set for Tuesday, The Clarion-Ledger reported (https://on.thec-l.com/1JKHPBt).

Jackson Police announced this year it wouldn’t provide help during the State Fair because of city budget cuts. Police Chief Lee Vance said Jackson typically pays about $320,000 in personnel and overtime costs for the annual event.

“We cannot afford to absorb those costs any longer,” Vance said Friday. “It’s simply a financial decision where we had no other choice. We’ve been saying to the Fair Commission and to the Legislature in recent years that we needed some help in offsetting the costs. It’s strictly a financial situation that we find ourselves in. We don’t really have a choice in the matter.”

In previous years, Jackson has provided up to 70 police officers to help with State Fair security.

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Department still plans to provide protection this year on the fairgrounds, near downtown Jackson.

Attorney John Corlew filed the complaint on behalf of the Fair Commission.

“The city has stated it would only provide one policeman and one car for security outside the fairgrounds fence unless it is paid to provide a full complement of police security,” the complaint said. “There is no legal basis for the city of Jackson to refuse sufficient police protection and security within the municipal boundaries of the city, particularly with reference to an even that attracts thousands of visitors to the capital city, and event which benefits the municipality’s merchants, other businesses and generate significant sales tax revenue for the city.”


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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