Officers manning a protest a the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Health Sciences Park on Aug. 18
The Memphis Police Department (MPD) spent more than $55,000 in overtime dollars in just the second half of August while manning rallies and protests at Graceland, Health Sciences Park, and Memphis Park, according to Deputy Chief Don Crowe.
Crowe told a Memphis City Council committee Tuesday that in addition to those overtime dollars, the department spent just under $9,000 for on-duty officers to keep a presence at the two parks which are both home to controversial Confederate statues.
That's a total of $63,826. Councilwoman Patrice Robinson says "that's a lot of money to spend on overtime."
Robinson asked Crowe if boarding up the Confederate statues would cause fewer people to visit the parks, and result in a need for less police presence. Similarly, council member Janis Fullilove suggested adding more cameras to the parks, which would allow officers to only respond when necessary.
But, MPD officials told council members that the department doesn't "want to be reactive, but proactive," and that the around-the-clock patrolling would continue indefinitely.
Crowe, along with Deputy Director Mike Ryall, adds that MPD is patrolling the parks solely to protect the people, and not the statues which council member Robinson says is a common notion among the community.
"I can assure you that that's not the case," Ryall said. "Our stance is the protection of life."