What’s the cost to keep you safe at CMA Fest?

Metro Police officers are working overtime to keep festival goes at the CMA Fest safe. (WSMV)

If you’re attending the CMA Fest, who is protecting you and what’s does it cost taxpayers?

Earlier this year the Metro Nashville Police Department made a major change in how its officers work special events.

As of April 1, Metro officers can no longer work side jobs with private security companies, but that’s not the only change that some critics think will cost taxpayers more money.

If you venture into downtown Nashville during the CMA Fest, there will be a lot of officers in uniform. About 100 of them are on duty working for Apex, a private security company. The rest are Metro police officers, many of them being paid time and a half.

Metro Police patrol the inside and outside of Nissan Stadium.

How much it will cost taxpayers in overtime won’t be known until all the bills come in.

A group of private security companies is suing Metro, saying Metro Police are starting to take over the security jobs they used to have and saying that costs the taxpayers more, not just in the short term.

“When you go into overtime, that not only affects the taxpayers now, it affects it for the life of that officer because that increases his pension for the rest of his life,” said Loyd Poteete with Comprehensive Security.

It happened in the case of Rob Forrest, the sergeant who had an affair with former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. He had so much overtime that it increased his monthly pension benefit.

Special events overtime is an issue. Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson asked Metro Council to increase his overtime budget.

“The number of special events has grown dramatically over the years and we’re adding even more this year with the soccer stadium coming up,” said Anderson.

The police department budgeted more than $9 million in overtime for fiscal year 2017.

It is not known the exact number of Metro police officers on duty for Thursday night at the CMA Fest. A police spokesman said there will be a “large contingent” on the east side for the concerts.

CMA also has a contract to use some Metro officers on the west side of the river for the CMA Fest.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



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