NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 30, 2005

Police protection at Metro Detroit sporting events is essential, but should not come solely at taxpayer expense. That responsibility should rest mostly on the shoulders of the owners of the area's professional sports teams, says the Detroit News.

Detroit's arrangement with its police department is unusual among big cities with professional sports teams. The unwritten policy to not charge the teams for police protection has existed for years and occasionally has been revisited, but never amended. It's time to change that. The Ilitch and Ford families can -- and should -- pay to protect the investments that reap them millions of dollars a year in profit, says the News.

  • At Detroit Tigers' home games, between 20 and 30 officers work in and around Comerica Park.
  • With a 2005 average attendance of about 24,000 people a game, that translates to about one officer for every 1,000 people in attendance.

Detroit needs to follow the lead of other cities with major league teams and require that the teams help pay for police protection, says the News:

  • In Cleveland, for example, the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers pay about $500,000 for police to direct traffic and patrol the area.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pay about $270,000 for patrols during the team's eight home football games.

Police services performed during games for the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and Lions as well as concerts, festivals and conventions cost more than $1 million a year, says Marty Bandemer, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. That's not an insignificant amount, nor is it an unreasonable amount to expect the teams to pay.

It's time Detroit's sports teams paid their fair share for police protection. Taxpayers can't afford to keep subsidizing their security, says the News.

Source: Editorial, "Sports teams should help pay for police protection: Taxpayers spend $1 million for security at games," Detroit News, June 30, 2005.


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