Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cost per game

Last weekend, a correspondent to the Lincoln Journal Star wrote a letter to the editor bemoaning the fact that the University of Nebraska does not foot the City’s bill for the cost of traffic control at UNL events, such as home football games. 

The letter stimulated some additional correspondence from another citizen with some of the City Council members.  This latter correspondent also incorrectly believed that the City is typically reimbursed when dignitaries visit Lincoln and require traffic/crowd control or security.  Here is a response I sent to clarify the situation:
“Councilman Emery copied me in on this thread just now, and I thought I might clarify a few things. 
First of all, football games are the only UNL events for which the police department incurs overtime expenses. Any LPD officers who are engaged in basketball, baseball, or other UNL events are off duty, and being paid by UNL. 
Last year, LPD spent $38,325.49 on police overtime for traffic control surrounding UNL football. This has been cut in half over the past several years, as we have reduced the number of officers involved in directing traffic. That works out to about $5,500 per home game. We are not responsible for crowd control in the stadium, which is the job of the University Police Department, but the traffic on City streets is our responsibility, and I think that's how UNL views it: your streets, your problem, your cost. 
As Councilman Emery notes, it's a huge economic engine, and although I have discussed this with mayors and councils over the past five administrations, no one has been particularly interested in drawing a line in the sand. Really, the only leverage we have would be to threaten to stop directing traffic, and I suspect the egg would be on our face if we did that, not on the University's. 
UNL also pays the going rate for the Lincoln Fire & Rescue medical standby at Memorial Stadium. 
To the best of my knowledge, we have never received any kind of reimbursement for expenses incurred in Presidential and Vice Presidential visits to Lincoln, although I can only recall one of those (Dick Cheney, 2004) in the past 20 years. If memory serves me, that cost us close to $32,000. We have occasionally provided some security services to other visiting dignitaries, but these have been low-key events involving only a handful of officers--usually one or two.”

16 comments:

JIM J said...

Smells like someone really dislikes UNL. The same person who complains about 10 items in the 9 items or less express lane at the store. I call them "the public police".
We all have saw them. They are the ones who lecture you about parking a little over the yellow line, and, if they could see, you did not raise the toilet seat prior to a liquid deposit. Thank goodness for doors on public toilets. Also the hand gesture drivers are in this class also.

Anonymous said...

You're response was kind of chopped up, just what were you trying to say?

I know LPD provides traffic control for more functions then just Husker Football. Basketball comes to mind with the crazed mess by the Devaney Center. Are you inferring that LPD does not get paid for this? That being the case, and since UNL has a PD, let them deal with it, save the city the money.

I'm guessing that when you wrote that blog, you were a touch angry, that much clearly came across to me. Perhaps you should spend less time responding to the errant citizens and just do your job for a change?

Just sayin'

Tom Casady said...

6:38,

Sorry about the word-wrap problem, all fixed now.

Did you miss my explanation that the LPD officers directing traffic at UNL basketball games are off-duty, and being paid by the University?

Angry? Not at all. The citizen who contacted the City Councilman wanted to know what it costs, and for which events the City provided police officers. He emailed me back, and appreciated the clarification. I could have posted his original email to give better context, but it would have made for an unusually long post.

Responding to citizens questions is part of my job.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

It seems that 6:38's reading comprehension skills could use a lot of work. Also, a writer infers nothing; a writer or speaker implies, the reader or listener infers.

Just sayin'...

Sam said...

Haha, if you are going to challenge the Director by insulting him, perhaps you should pay more attention to what he actually wrote there "Anonymous." By the way, this is not Twitter #justsayin.

Keep-it-simple said...

JIM J.
If many people in Lincoln are confronting you about having too many items in the express lane or about not parking inside a marked space, you might want to think about the many other people who are too timid or polite to let you know your behavior is unwelcome here.

Do you have a problem with "limits" as an intellectual concept?

Steve said...

Why not put a surtax on football tickets to cover the cost of traffic control by LPD? That way, only the people who cause the problem will have to pay for it, not LPD or UNL. It would be sort of like the extra tax on food and services we now pay to support the arena, except that people who don't go to the games won't have to pay a share of it like they do for the areana whether they use it or not.

Steve said...

Off the subject, I now recommend leathers and helmets at all times for riding motorcycles. Passing through Waterville, WA, Sunday morning with my brother, the sun was just coming up over the mountains and blinding me from being able to see the right turn we needed to take to stay on Highway 2 toward Spokane. My brother, slightly in the lead, saw the sign at the last second and made his turn in front of me. A little too late, I saw him, but couldn't avoid him, and we collided. Because of having donned our leathers, due to the cool temps, and having helmets due to the law in Washington, we suffered virtually no road rash, or head injuries. Unfortunately, my shoulder bore the brunt of my fall and left me with a broken clavicle. The nearest hospital was some 140 miles away in Spokane, and I was able to ride that far, but that was about it for me. We're back home now after the wives brought my truck out and we loaded the bikes in a rented trailer. I'm quite certain, had it been later in the day in a helmet free state, I'd be in much more pain than I am right now.

Tom Casady said...

Steve,

Ouch! How's the bike?

Helmet and leather saves the day again.

On a vaguely related note, Inwas on a bike ride with my daughter and son-in-law two weeks ago, when the exact same thing occurred on a downhill stretch at about 25 MPH. I managed to avoid, but Kelly and Andy went down in a heap. Thanks to helmets, road-rash was the only injury.

We had a fatal bicycle accident this year in which the rider hit a stick in the road, went down, and hit his unprotected head on the curb. A witness described the sound, although he did not see the impact.

Helmets save lives--often--and I simply will not ride a motorcycle or bicycle without one.

Anonymous said...

Or dirt bike without a helmet.

Steve said...

Tom:

Haven't gotten an estimate on the bike yet, but it needs a new tank, brake cyclinder, brake hand grip, right mirror, right foot pegs, left highway peg, and right saddle bag, and new exhaust pipes (or at least the clamps). At Harley prices, it's a chunk, and I don't know about the frame, handle bars, etc. Fortunately, it appears my insurance will take care of everything, including my brother's bike (which had about the same damage) and our medical bills.

Keep in mind, this was at 25 mph (or less). I had a wreck years ago at about 75 mph and actually came out of it better physically, though that bike was totaled. Again, helmet and heavy clothing saved me from much worse.

I saw guys (and gals) riding with shorts and sandals during the trip. Hate to think how they would come out if they wrecked.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you that ride know of a helmet visor that is polarized? I cannot carry two or three pairs of glasses with me for varying light conditions. It would be great if somebody manufactured a visor that could be flipped over for day/night riding. Polarization makes a huge difference in contrasting light conditions. A recent left turner in late afternoon prompted me to ask this question.

Gun Nut

JIM J said...

Keep it simple:
Yes...next question please. And is a charge of 120.00 an hour in force?

Steve said...

I haven't found any polarized visors, but I'm partial to riding glasses or goggles anyway. I have a clear lens pair and a smoked lens pair. Hard to believe you couldn't find room somewhere to carry a second pair. Carrying too many guns? :)

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this will help bring the thread back on topic.


The officers are paid for a number of events as off duty while wearing their uniforms and even driving a cruiser. Who compensates the city for this fuel when an off duty officer uses a city vehicle?

Tom Casady said...

2:48,

You cannot use a patrol car for an off-duty job without the approval of the chief. In certain circumstances (one of which is basketball), I decided that the public benefit warranted the use of a patrol car, since on-duty personnel would otherwise shoulder the burden. This is rare, though, and normally if the use of a car is approved (for a house moving, for example), the department charges a fee of $25/ hr for the patol car.