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Occupy Darien to Cost $10,000 in Police Overtime

Organizer Margaret Rague said the event could draw anywhere from 50 to 5,000 people.

Town officials say taxpayers will pay $10,000 in overtime for police to staff an ‘’ event that could draw anywhere from 50 to 5,000 people, according to its organizer.

Margaret Rague, 61, said that’s a small sum for a citizen’s right to exercise free speech.

“$10,000 is a scant price to pay for the defense of the First Amendment,” Rague told Darien Patch.

An attorney, naturopathic physician and 23-year town resident, Rague said Darienites shouldn’t “complain about spending 50 cents apiece per capita” for 'Occupy Darien.'

at , ‘Occupy Darien’ has been described by Rague as an open forum to discuss problems with the economy. Rague has said she’s expecting no overnight camping, such as has been seen at Manhattan’s original and related ‘Occupy’ protests.

The event has sparked wide debate in Darien, and beyond, about the justification, merits and aims of what are more broadly described as “Occupy Wall Street”-type gatherings. Divisiveness came to a head when Dec. 3 on misdemeanor charges following what police described as a drunken confrontation. Rague has called the charges bogus.

According to Capt. Frederick W. Komm, officials are planning for “the worst-case scenario.”

“In other words, if a lot of people show up,” Komm said.

It isn’t clear yet just how many officers will need to be pulled into an overtime shift to staff for ‘Occupy Darien,’ Komm said, “but it’s going to be in the thousands of dollars, at least $10,000, so the town has to bear that expense.”

Attendees are expected to take trains for the event, Komm said. It’s scheduled to be held during commuter work hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to Komm, the MTA police are planning to have extra people at the .

MTA police could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to Director Susan Swiatek, Rague has requested the ability to secure a permit for ‘Occupy Darien’ though such a permit isn’t required.

“She has a right to assemble,” Swiatek said. “Her request is reviewed as any other request for park use would be.”

According to Rague, town officials have assured her that the permit can be issued with or without insurance.

Rague said it isn’t clear how many people will show up.

“That is really anybody’s guess,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect. I had no idea how this event would blossom.”

Jean D. December 20, 2011 at 12:54 PM
I am glad the Police are making overtime, but really, shouldn't the permit holder make up that difference? If this was the Church, boy scouts or Chamber of Commerce would you give them a bill? I honestly don't know. And if not, maybe the law needs to be changed.
Alex Tytler December 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Scant price to pay? Send her the bill. If the police new how to schedule efficiently, there would be no overtime bill.
max December 20, 2011 at 01:01 PM
How many police already scheduled for that day? How many more planned? Certainly some could be "reallocated" from other duties to spend a little more time policing the events at tilly pond. Also, I do not think a police presence is required for the entire event. If a few officers passed through from time to time and busted some heads once in a while that would probably be sufficient. No need to make a big deal out of this and not need to just throw money at the party when attendance is not even known.
max December 20, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Is the price of a permit related to the number of attendees?
citizenbrwn December 20, 2011 at 01:11 PM
I'm not for or against-just for the right to free speech and the right to assembly. Saying the worst case scenario is..."people showing up"..is really telling. Not riots or violence...just people "who don't belong here' showing up. I didn't realize that park spaces in this town weren't public@@. You don't have to support the movement, but don't smirk as amendment rights of people you disagree with are stomped on. It's a slippery slope to all of our rights being trashed. I'd hope people here are not that ignorant.
Jean D. December 20, 2011 at 01:29 PM
I don't think anyone is suggesting that free speech be prohibited. I think maybe paying for others free speech is kind of annoying. I also dont think anyone is suggesting the parks aren't public. Most would just like them to be inhabited lawfully and not cost the taxpayer extra.
Ksmithee December 20, 2011 at 02:13 PM
One day before event and to still have no idea of how many might attend (estimate at 50-5000) is troubling. An 11/30 article said that Margaret Rague "is paying for the entire event so that people can come together and exchange ideas on how to fix the economy"....so why isn't she being charged the overtime? If no insurance is required will she be paying the bill if there are any damages? Have the port-a-potties arrived as she had promised ?
Ed Infurna December 20, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Wow...that's a stretch, citizenbrwn (whoever you are, hiding behind your anonymous ID) What the Capt. Komm did say is worst case scenario is a lot of people show up. Nothing said about whether they are wanted, nothing said about their right to assemble or speak. Just worst case in terms of burden and obligation on the town. The rest is you just projecting what you wish was said, so you'd have something to whine and moan about. Objective observers will see that immediately.
RPM December 20, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Our wonderful police officers are there when work is being done in the streets by directing traffic, are there when events are going on at the schools, are there when it's election day, and so on. I appreciate their presence and appreciate the right for citizens to peacefully assemble.
Charley December 20, 2011 at 02:15 PM
They (whoever they really are) have the right to assemble to express their free speech but I have just as much right to voice my free speech with what I think of them, including smirking at their pathetic, dysfunctional process, especially when it's in my backyard. It's not a slippery slope, far from it. We exist in a society with government and laws with more freedoms and rights than any other nation on earth. We're not in la-la land, they are. It can rain enough tomorrow.
Ed Infurna December 20, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Further, no one is smirking, or stomping first amendment rights. I don't rights being trashed, nor do I see anyone stomping anything, except maybe you, with your feet, in false indignity Last, the "slippery slope" is a fallacious argument. Look it up: "Also Known as: The Camel's Nose. Description of Slippery Slope The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form: 1. Event X has occurred (or will or might occur). 2. Therefore event Y will inevitably happen. This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another."
Charley December 20, 2011 at 02:21 PM
should read: It can't rain enough tomorrow.
Skipaway December 20, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Release the geese on these complainers! See how the feel after being nipped in their uncovered birkenstock toes!
sebastian dangerfield December 20, 2011 at 03:33 PM
I don't get the 10k bill quite frankly. I assumed there would be a war of words between those who are all about the constitution (when it suits... Charley points out the hypocrisy), and those not wanting to pay for others' expensive yet "free" speech. But I have to wonder where the 10k bill comes from. 10 am to 5 for 2 days. That's 14 hours and certainly after day 1 they can gauge how to staff on day 2. Are 5000 people going to pay the 20 dollar round trip fee twice? But anyway, the fireworks has more than 5000 attending. If these are "peaceful protestors" seems like a lot of money the police are charging.
BCT December 20, 2011 at 04:01 PM
If OWS is not peaceful and there is damage and economic loss, who gets the bill?
Jim McCann December 20, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Geez louise! Last week when you reported on this the alway effusive and maker of Grand STatements Margaret Raque claimed and stated she was paying for the cost of this assembly......why the big change.....she finally got the bill? There is no reason this level of security that is being provided for "Margaret's party" can't be billed to her as a taxpayer. Back up your words Margaret.....quit lecturing us on integrity and demonstrate a little of your own. Pay the bill.........
james clarke December 20, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Why would you send a bill for police overtime to the organizer when she probably didn't invite the police anyway? If the town wants the police there or the police want to be there let them pay for their time themselves. The organizer should pay for traffic cops and cleanup. Oh, and port-a-potties.
David Genovese December 20, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Honestly, I don't understand this at all...and I would like to ask the Town for an explanation. When I helped organize a fundraiser in Tilley Park several years back, I was told that I had to hire police to supervise (and pay them). When we sponsored some free movies in the park, the same was true. I had to pay for the police overtime in all of these instances, so why would Mrs Rague not have to? Why should we as taxpayers have to bear this burden given that she initiated this event?
Ed Infurna December 20, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Hear, hear... Rague believes $10K a small sum for a citizen’s right to exercise free speech: “$10,000 is a scant price to pay for the defense of the First Amendment.” So, let her pay the small sum. The town shouldn't have to, and I definitely wouldn't pay 50 cents out of MY pocket so she can exercise HER rights. You should ask, David. You'll have the support of virtually the entire town. And if she isn't charged the cost, I'd love to hear from the town why her situation is different from yours.
Jean D. December 20, 2011 at 09:58 PM
David, this is what i figured, the bullies of this kind of stunt usually get their way. By being big mouths. Here we go again. Dear Darien police, CHARGE THIS WOMAN LIKE YOU CHARGE EVERYONE HAVING AN EVENT IN THE PARK. Thank you.
Anonymous December 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM
James Clarke - Actually, Ms. Rague in fact DID invite the police. "Rague has also requested a police presence, though she expects the event to be peaceful." ~the Daily Darien
Alex Tytler December 20, 2011 at 10:43 PM
She's got to be the stupidest attorney ever.
Shannon December 21, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Oh, Darien. All worked up about the possibility of a minority opinion being heard? Will we never change?
Jean D. December 21, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Let's just thank God it is an opinion of the MINORITY. I think the issue here is, who is paying for it.

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