Why Are El Paso Taxpayers Footing The Bill For EPPD Officers At Cincinnati Entertainment District?
If you like to party in west El Paso at the Cincinnati Entertainment District, you'll be seeing a lot more police officers there on the weekends. The City has decided that the best way to keep partiers safe is to put eight El Paso Police Department officers on duty in the party district.
The officers will be on duty from 9 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturdays for an undetermined amount of time. They will get overtime pay that will be paid for out of the City's General Fund. The extra patrol officers is a reaction to the hit-and-run accident that happened during Thanksgiving break that took the life of local teacher, Amanda Ferguson Weyant.
There are a couple of questions that need to be answered by the City:
1. Why now? - Westside City representative Peter Svarzbein is up for re-election and he is catching a lot of grief from Kern Place residents who say he hasn't done enough to keep the Cincinnati area safe. There have been other accidents on Mesa that have resulted in the deaths of pedestrians, including the death of a nurse last year. The man who killed her was just on trial for her death and got probation. There was no uproar after that accident. Why? Could this be an effort to appease voters?
2. Why eight officers? - Seriously. The Cincinnati Entertainment District is one street long. Do we really need eight officers? And if someone is going to run a red light, who's to say that person is going to stop for an officer?
3. Why are taxpayers on the hook for this? - The Cincinnati Entertainment District is filled with privately owned businesses. Mesa Street is a state road that is taken care of by TxDOT. Why are El Paso taxpayers paying for private businesses to have eight officers on a state-run road? If the businesses want to keep their patrons safe, they should pay for the officers. If TxDOT wants to avoid tragedies like this in the future, they should get to work to figure out a way to build a walkway or some other avenue to get people across Mesa safely.
This seems like a really boneheaded reaction to a serious problem. What do you say, EPPD, City Rep. Svarzbein, and TxDOT? Get to work and figure this out, but this isn't the way to go.