Dallas council narrowly votes down State Fair paying entire police cost

The Dallas City Council narrowly voted down a measure on Wednesday to force the State Fair of Texas to pay the full cost of Dallas police working the fair.

The vote happened after Assistant Dallas Police Chief David Pughes revealed the true cost of policing the fair is triple the amount the city asked for from fair officials.

Pughes said it cost a total of $3 million dollars last year -- $1 million for overtime and $2 million for officers being taken off their usual duty patrols. The city is only asking for $1 million in cost reimbursement.

Councilman Scott Griggs made a motion to recover the full amount it costs to police the fair.

"For 24 days they are pulled from your neighborhood, from homicide, from every department in the police department, put at the State Fair at a cost of the taxpayers of $3 million -- a business bringing in 56 million a year and paying top executives salaries in excess of $700,000 a year."

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway claimed without any stated evidence that another city could steal the State Fair from Dallas if the city asks for all police costs to be recovered.

"We are going to the fair for corny dogs,” Caraway said. “Forget that. No more corny dogs, corn cob, turkey legs, because we're sitting here griping over how we're going to keep the people coming to our city protected.”

Griggs’ motion to ask the fair for $3 million failed by just one vote, 8-7.

For this year’s fair, organizers will be asked to cover the overtime for officers, which is an estimated $1 million. That’s an increase from 2016, when the police department requested a half million dollars.

A spokesperson for the fair told FOX4 that Wednesday was the first time they've heard a $3 million figure to cover police costs. The spokesperson added the fair doesn't request a particular number of officers, that the number is up to the city. The fair said it will also be hiring off duty officers this year.

Many city council members did recommend that the city revisit this issue for next year's agreement with the fair.

The 2017 State Fair of Texas starts in just two and a half weeks on Sept. 29.

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