"We're going to try to get in as many pink desserts as we can."
Patrick Polowichak puts the finishing touches on desserts to serve at the Cherry Blossom Festival. It's his first year in business for the festival. Security patrolling the streets keeps his mind at ease. "It keeps the crowd honest. We shouldn't have a problem, but police presence is always important to have."
Who watches over safety for the 10-day-long festival?
"They don't have any event staff, or what we call 'T-shirt security.' The sheriff's office handles all the festival's security needs," says Captain Brad Wolfe with Bibb County Sheriff's Office.
He says 20 to 30 Bibb County officers out of the department's 133 cover several posts. Some are just working their normal shifts, but others get pulled in to work overtime. "It's a burden. It's taxing on our manpower reserves. We pull in a lot of people and use a lot of manpower for the festival," says Wolfe.
So where is the money coming from to pay these patrol officers? Wolfe says the money gets pulled from the sheriff's office budget, which comes from tax dollars. We verified that security costs for the Cherry Blossom Festival come from you, the county's taxpayers. Does pulling these officers for the festival jeopardize the taxes you pay to keep all of Bibb County out of harm's way?
"The public shouldn't see any reduction in service to them or any reduction in response time because we've planned it in such as way as to preserve that," says Wolfe.
For Polowichak, these are tax dollars well spent. "You can never put a dollar amount on somebody's life. You want to protect the people that are coming to downtown to help revitalize downtown, that are down here spending their hard-earned money, and that's what's going to keep all these businesses afloat."
Bibb County deputies walk the festival's sites, to protect the public at Macon's Pinkest Party.