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A suburban Chicago city has revoked the special permit for an upcoming gay pride parade over security staffing concerns following a spat in which local authorities were told that police officers would not be allowed to march in uniform.
The group running the Aurora Pride Parade had been working with the Aurora Police Department to come up with a safety plan for the privately-run event, but a police spokesperson told Fox Chicago the department couldn’t make it work.
The city said organizers had failed to meet the required number of law enforcement officers to secure the event.
“Based on the inability of the Aurora Pride board to retain the number of law enforcement officers required to ensure the public health and welfare of participants and spectators the Aurora Pride Parade (70% of which were already provided by the Aurora Police Department), and on the recommendation from the Aurora Police Department that the parade cannot be held without satisfying these safety requirements, the City of Aurora has issued a Notice of Revocation to Aurora Pride,” the city said in a statement.
Organizers announced last month that police officers marching in the parade could not dress in their uniforms and could not bring their service weapons or patrol vehicles.
“We have not been able to close the gap, despite the tireless efforts of our Safety team lead and many supporters offering their assistance. As a result, our permit is now revoked,” an Aurora Pride statement said. “However, we’re not giving up. Our position has been misrepresented, and we’re making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled.”
The parade to celebrate the LGBTQ community was slated to be held Sunday. Aurora Pride has filed an appeal to the permit decision, which is scheduled to be heard Thursday.
“We really couldn’t in good faith say this event could go on without the required law enforcement number being there at the event to provide security,” said Paris Lewbel, spokesperson for the police department.
“We can’t force them or require them to work a special event or any overtime event for that matter – it’s really on a voluntary basis,” Lewbel added. “When it comes to this event, specifically, it’s not different than any other event that we’ve had where we are just having issues filling that many positions.”
Lewbel said the department encouraged the pride organizers to contact other law enforcement agencies to address security concerns.
In San Francisco, Pride parade organizers there came to a compromise with the city about officers in uniforms after Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Police Department decided not to participate over a similar ban.