Mississippi Fair Security Fight Fixed

The Mississippi State Fair Commission and the city of Jackson have reached an agreement regarding police presence at the fair following a fight over budget cuts.

The commission filed a complaint Oct. 2 seeking an injunction to force police to provide security services at the fair after the department announced it wouldn’t work the event in light of budget cuts.

“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,” according to the complaint obtained by the local Clarion-Ledger. “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 event that attracts thousands of visitors to the capital city, an event which benefits the municipality’s merchants, other businesses and generate significant sales tax revenue for the city.”

Jackson officials and commissioners reached an agreement just prior to a scheduled court hearing that will see the city providing 10 police officers and the fair paying 10 off-duty officers.

“It’s a great day for the city of Jackson, and it’s a great day for the state fair,” the fair’s chairwoman Cindy Hyde-Smith told the paper. “This is a fine example of state agencies working with city municipalities. … We are going to have a safe fair.” The police department had claimed it takes a hit of more than $300,000 each year in personnel and overtime costs during the fair.

The fair will reportedly seek money from the state legislature to pay the off-duty officers for providing security.