In Your Corner: How your tax dollars are keeping you safe during area Fourth of July celebrations

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Fourth of July celebrations across the Tri-Cities went out with a bang as thousands watched fireworks shows across the region. While many enjoyed the annual traditions, we learned your tax payer dollars helped fund police officer’s overtime pay as they worked to keep citizens safe.

From parades to family fun activities and the coveted fireworks show. It all costs money, tax payer dollars that goes toward paying law enforcement officers working to keep you safe.

Captain Maynard Ratcliff with the Bristol, Virginia Police Department says its money well spent.

“You have to have officers working special events, espeically with the type this one is,” Captain Maynard said.

Based off of the information obtained from the city of Johnson City, in 2016 the July Fourth Celebration at Freedom Hall costs an estimated $30,000. City officials estimate about the same amount for the 2017 celebration.

About $16,000 of the $30,000 spent in Johnson City pays for clean up, event planning, and day of expenses.

In 2016 Johnson City had 70 officers at the Freedom Hall Fourth of July celebration. The city spent an estimated $13,800 in overtime pay for officers.

That same year the city of Rogersville staffed their Fourth of July celebration with about 30 police officers and estimated spending $8,000 in overtime pay for officers.

Greenville staffed less than half a dozen officers for its fourth of July celebration. Administrators say those auxilliary officers get part time pay.

This year, the city of Kingsport had 5 additional officers working the fire works celebration downtown. The estimated overtime pay for those officers was about $500 dollars.

Administrators with the Kingsport Police Department say overtime for only the fire works celebration is paid for by the Downtown Kingsport Association.

Bristol Virginia Police staffed 15 officers for their celebration this year. Captain Ratcliff estimates that each officer got about 7 hours overtime.

“We have to ensure the safety of everyone involved here,” Captain Ratliff said.

That takes money Captain Ratcliff says its a small price to pay for keeping thousands of lives safe.Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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