Police defend costs of protests - WSMV Channel 4

Police defend costs of protests

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Several protests have taken place since the election of Donald Trump. (WSMV) Several protests have taken place since the election of Donald Trump. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

As angry as the many protesters may be about Donald Trump getting elected, there are just as many people who are angry about the protests.

"Really? Move on," said Nashville resident Myke Schwartz.

"The amount of time and money and effort these people are putting into it is absurd, and it needs to stop," said Cacky Breland.

Twenty-four Metro police officers responded to last Wednesday's protest. Seventeen of them worked overtime. Out of those, 11 came from Central precinct, three from Midtown Hills and three from Hermitage. The total cost was $1,819.65.

That was just one protest. There have been a few, but Tennessee's numbers pale in comparison to those in Portland, OR, where protests have turned violent.

A spokesperson for Portland police said they've utilized hundreds of officers, 11,000 hours of overtime and $670,700 on protests since last Wednesday, and that doesn't include the resources from the six other agencies that have been helping them.

"That's taxpayer dollars that can be used for something else," said Nashville resident Radu Pop.

While some in Nashville feel frustrated, Metro officers, apparently, do not.

"I mean people have a right to protest," said Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood.

Smallwood said, while working overtime to police protests may be inconvenient, it's part of the job.

"From all the way back to the civil rights era you can see videos and pictures of police officers providing protection to those who are protesting," Smallwood said.

Smallwood said he’s OK with the dollars spent and resources used as long as the protests in Nashville remain peaceful.

"You have the right to stand up and say your opinion, but you don't have the right to hurt other people or damage property. That's a criminal activity,” he said.

Metro police said most of the officers used work in flex units, meaning they wouldn't ordinarily be responding to calls for service.   

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