There will be a massive police presence at the Made in America festival downtown this weekend.
Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Rick Stabile says there will be about 270 city officers dedicated to patrolling the perimeter outside the two-day concert, which starts Saturday. Another 200 Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies will be inside the venue, comprised of Grand Park as well as the closed downtown streets next to it, he said.
That deployment outdoes the 450 officers assigned to police raves at the L.A. Sports Arena following gatecrashing and drug-related crime at a 160,000-strong party at its sister venue, the L.A. Coliseum, in 2010:
The response to the issues at 2010's Electric Daisy Carnival included 200 extra police at future raves, at least until the electronic dance music parties were shut out of the taxpayer-owned venues altogether in 2011. And after controversy erupted because a 15-year-old girl died after sneaking into EDC, which had a 16-and-older policy, promoters and officials agreed that an 18-and-older policy was the way to go.
That won't be the case at Made in America.
Organizers of the $200-per-head event featuring Kanye West, Iggy Azalea, Steve Aoki,
Tiesto, Chromeo, Baauer Borgore, 12th Planet and more have decided on an all-ages policy, which would expand its ticket-buying market.
Cops are preparing for any possible problems.
Stabile of the LAPD addressed concerned downtown residents at a Made in America community meeting this week. “I assure you,” he said, “we have a substantial deployment around the event.”
One priority seems to be ensuring that concert promoter Live Nation preserves its ticket revenues. “Are people trying to jump the fences?” Stabile said. “My main responsibility is that very thing.”
Cops would be assigned to “fixed posts” around the perimeter, Stabile said.
The lieutenant said that his officers would not enforce curfew laws and that City Hall has agreed to a noise level for the event.
The costs to taxpayers could be significant.
While Live Nation has agreed to give the city $500,000 for its trouble, the police deployment alone could eat up almost all that cash. And while venues often negotiate for a piece of food, beverage and merchandise sales, it doesn't appear taxpayers will be seeing any of that.
The city also is sending as many as 36 Department of Transportation workers to the event to close streets and direct traffic, a spokeswoman said. The Los Angeles Fire Department will have inspectors on-hand.
Using a formula offered by LAPD during L.A. Coliseum Commission discussions about rave deployments, the 270-officer contingent could cost taxpayers $434,160. The event runs from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, so we're relying on a conservative estimate of 12 hours of work per cop.
That's if all hell doesn't break loose and no overtime is needed.
However, city senior administrative analyst Matthew Crawford previously estimated that 200 officers working 10 hours costs $92,000, so his calculations would put City Hall's cost of policing Made in America closer to a quarter-million dollars.
The deployment of officers and other city services at the much smaller Michael Jackson memorial at the 17,500-capacity Staples Center in 2009 was at one point estimated by City Hall to have cost taxpayers $3.2 million, with much of that going to the police.
Some neighbors question why the citizens of Los Angeles are subsidizing a concert organized by the largest music promoter in the world.
One of them, 70-year-old downtown resident Marilyn Elkins, told the meeting, “We're paying for the city to have a party that we don't even want to go to.”
Elkins said her residential complex was hiring extra security at its own cost. And she and others expressed frustration that community input was solicited after the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti had already made a deal with Live Nation to greenlight the festival.
If there's any consolation for residents worried about a tsunami of teenagers, traffic clogged by closures and blasts of late-night bass, it's that tickets appear to be selling slowly. Although the party has a capacity of 50,000 people a day, Stabile said only about 36,000 tickets have been sold.