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The Dripby Mark Reutter8:00 amJun 2, 20210

Police fees for stadium and other special events set to rise sharply

The new fee structure comes as the pandemic eases and Baltimore begins to accept special events permit applications

Above: Baltimore police officers at the 2019 Hampdenfest pause for a photo. (@MajorRichGibson)

Following a critical audit, the Baltimore Police Department is revising upwards the rates it charges vendors at special events to better reflect the real cost of the service.

Off-duty police provide crowd control, traffic and other protective services for the Maryland Stadium Authority at Orioles and Ravens home games. They are also contracted out for private concerts, festivals, parades and other events that occur on or utilize public space.

The current charges pay for only a portion of the costs associated with the service, forcing the BPD and, indirectly, the taxpayer to subsidize the events, according to a 2020 report by City Auditor Josh Pasch and an independent review by the BPD.

As a result, the budget office is asking the Board of Estimates today to approve a new fee schedule for special event permits, starting July 1:

• For officers on duty: an hourly rate of $65 compared to the present $45 (+44%).

• For sergeants on duty: an hourly rate of $70 compared to the current $52 (+35%).

• For lieutenants on duty: an hourly rate of $75 compared to $59 currently (+27%).

The rates are based on time-and-a-half pay in keeping with the city’s bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3.

An additional 5% administrative fee and a $56 charge for each marked police vehicle used during “mobile events” will be tacked onto the sponsor’s bill.

The budget office did not estimate the revenue stream coming from the new policy, but last year’s audit report indicated that it could amount to several million dollars as more special events take place after the pandemic.

Special Events Resuming

The Department of Transportation Right-of-Way Division’s Office of Special Events and Recreation and Parks’ Special Events and Permits Office began this week to accept permit applications for events to be hosted after Monday, July 5.

According to a release from Mayor Brandon Scott’s office, applicants are asked to allow a six-to-eight-week review period for applications to be processed.

The following restrictions will apply:

• Masks are mandatory at all ticketed events unless there is active eating or drinking.

• Run and walk events do not require participants to wear masks.

• Social distancing is encouraged.

• Capacity limits apply only to space restrictions – no Covid-related capacity restrictions are in place in Baltimore at this time.

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