Gilbert Police expenses for Thursday night protests go past $700,000

Gilbert protests
Black Lives Matter protestors face off across Warner Road from Trump-Pence supporters Oct. 1. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Black Lives Matter protestors face off across Warner Road from Trump-Pence supporters Oct. 1. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Dueling protests that have become a Thursday-night fixture this summer and fall at Gilbert and Warner roads have cost police more than $700,000 to date, officials said.

Nearly all of the $732,281.05 costs are in personnel assigned to the protests, with just $4,225.63 spent in other costs.

The protests have been included a group representing Black Lives Matter, though some BLM organizers have urged their group to stay away from the protests now as they have become counterproductive, officials said.

The other group represented started as a “Back the Blue” pro-police group, but recent protests have mostly displayed Trump-Pence campaign signs and some pro-Second Amendment signage, officials said.

Police have set up traffic barriers on either side of Warner Road at Gilbert to keep the groups safely away from traffic and each other and assigned officers from different units near the protests.

Gilbert Police spokesperson Brenda Carrasco said Chandler and Mesa police departments helped with policing the situation in early weeks and did not charge Gilbert for doing so in exchange for Gilbert’s promise to help when those agencies needed it.

Carrasco said Gilbert’s costs averaged $21,000 per week when Chandler and Mesa also were helping, but now is at $32,000 per week since Gilbert Police Department is handling the protests alone.

Attendance at the protests have been dwindling since Aug. 20, a night when some protestors crossed the street and two arrests were made related to the protests, officials said. The arrests that night are the only ones that have been made beside nearby traffic violations, Carrasco said.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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