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Amid budget cuts, UPD seeking monetary help for staffing community events

By HILARY LANE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Twelve members of the Utica Police Department have been laid off, 23 have been demoted and 25 officers have been re-shuffled after tough cuts by the Utica Common Council.

With the new cuts to the department and a smaller overtime budget, concerns are rising over keeping the city safe, especially during large scale events like the Boilermaker.

"In the past, we have been able to provide these services free of charge, but we are now approaching organizers of the events and asking if they can help out," said Chief Mark Williams of the Utica Police Department.

Boilermaker officials met with Chief Williams and learned it would be difficult to fully staff the event with a smaller police force. Soon after, organizers made the decision to donate in the hope that all would run smoothly.

"You are talking about putting 40,000 people in the back of a brewery in a city that has 63,000," said Tim Reed, Executive Director of the Boilermaker. "You want to have an event that is safe. Post-party is one of the signature events of the whole thing, so we want to make sure it is always a comfortable and safe environment for the all of our guests that come from throughout the country."

Boilermaker officials won't reveal the amount they have donated for another two weeks, but they are already thinking about ways to ensure public safety costs are covered for next year's event.

"I think what will happen is that we will build in a fee structure for the runners next year to deal with public service which would take care of the entire issue," Reed said.

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