Friends of the Festival on Thursday announced additional changes to their security plan for this year's Riverbend festival, including hiring some city police officers after all.
"After discussing a variety of Riverbend security options with the city of Chattanooga, Friends of the Festival initially proposed the use of private security and told the city we would not rely on the use of Chattanooga Police Department officers," said Chip Baker, executive director at Friends of the Festival.
This week Friends of the Festival began work on a plan to use private security to execute a strategy approved and overseen by Chattanooga Police Department. The Chattanooga Police Department would assign officers to the areas where they were most needed outside of the event.
Friends of the Festival felt this security structure would work and signed an agreement with the city to this effect.
"However, since that time, Friends of the Festival has determined that it cannot contract with enough private security personnel to comply with the approved security plan and ensure the event is safe. So today I asked Mayor Berke to arrange for approximately 30 off-duty Chattanooga Police officers to supplement the security during each night of the event," said Mr. Baker. "Mayor Berke recognized the public safety issue that had arisen from the Friends of the Festival plan and immediately worked to ensure that Riverbend would be safe for our community."
"I apologize for the confusion this situation has caused as well as for the inconvenience to Chattanooga Police Department officers," said Mr. Baker. "I am grateful to Mayor Berke for working with us to provide a solution."