Nov 16, 2011 12:32 AM by John Romero
As Occupy Wall Street protests grow across the country, so do violent episodes between cops and occupiers.
Just north of our area, Occupy Denver has had several heated run-ins with police over camping space and public areas. With those confrontations comes a price. Today Denver Police announced its cost taxpayers around $360,000 dollars to deal with protestors during the first few weeks of the movement and that number keeps growing.
Here at home though, it's a different story. "Compared to other cities across the country, Colorado Springs is really fortunate in that it has only cost us $10,000 for the occupy Colorado Springs. That being said, $10,000 is a lot of money when you're on a tight budget." explains Barbara Miller with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
To break down the numbers, Colorado Springs Police have told us they spent over $9,000 dollars for 2 different days. The first was about three and a half thousand for the first night back on October 15th when they told Occupiers they couldn't sleep in Acacia Park. The second was during the Veteran's Day parade when just over $6,000 was spent for extra cops to ensure there would be no problems between Parade goers and occupiers. The other $1,000 came from various other days. While the police are once again being asked to slash their 2012 budget, they do say they've budgeted for more occupy." For a situation like that, extra money is always put in the budget.' says Miller.
Pueblo is spending even less on its Occupy movement. Pueblo Police tell us they've spent less than $1,000 on patrolling Occupy Pueblo. Both in Pueblo and in Colorado Springs, police and occupiers credit open communication as the key to less spending. "I think that was very helpful, so that we understood what their issues and concerns were and they understood how we would have to implement the law." explains Miller. Jason Warf of Occupy Colorado Springs agrees. "We're not wasting money on riot police for peaceful protestors I think is the #1 reason and the simplest reason." he says.
The open dialogue between the two sides has kept protests peaceful without the need for a heavy police presence. Occupy Colorado Springs says it's made things a lot easier on everyone involved. "Having that peace and that peaceful coexistence really lets us focus on what we're doing here as opposed to a battle over tents or what ever the case may be." says Warf.