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Council changes EPPD special events schedules

Staffing officers for special events around the city has become a challenge for the El Paso Police Department.

On Tuesday, EPPD and the president of the El Paso Municipal Police Officers Association, Ron Martin, went before city council to request approval of an agreement that would resolve scheduling conflicts.

The issues started when more officers were needed in downtown El Paso to work security and traffic control at El Paso Chihuahuas games.

This year, the number of officers working outside Southwest University Park was cut nearly in half, but that still pulled officers away from their regular schedules.

Ron Martin told council there are 14 city-sponsored events police officers have to work per year, aside from non-city sponsored events, assigned duties and Chihuahuas games.

“We don’t have the bodies to staff these (events), so we’re basically taking from one place to cover another place and it’s becoming more and more difficult,” said Martin.

As agreed upon between EPPD and EPMPOA, council approved that all officers be given a 14-day advanced notice of when they are needed to cover special events and Chihuahuas games.

If the city does not give an officer the two-week notice, the event will be considered overtime pay.

Most events that include city property and large crowds need a permit at least 30 days in advance.

Martin said that is more than enough time to let EPMPOA that extra officers will be needed.

“It’s basically a common courtesy to our officers,” said Martin.

He added that this will help officers make arrangements with family members and not interrupt their personal daily lives.

City representatives Michiel Noe and Lily Limon agreed with Martin’s argument.

“This is something that should have happened prior,” said Limon.

“If you’re not giving enough notice, it’s disrupts people’s lives, vacations, time off. So it is fair to them (officers),” said Noe.

The new agreement also allows more officers to rotate covering traffic control and security at Chihuahuas games.

Officers who work inside Southwest University Park are paid by the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Prior to city council approval, only 130 officers took turns working the games.

Now, Martin said all 1,041 police officers will work the games on a rotation.

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