By Alyssa Schnugg
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors has updated the county’s permit policy for the third time since June due to security concerns regarding the Confederate statue and the influx of recent rallies and protests.
In June, the supervisors changed the county’s event permit policy to require 30-day advance notice for groups or individuals to apply for an event permit. However, the board changed the permit policy later in the month to not require advance notice.
On July 20, the supervisors voted in an executive session to now require 14-day advance notice for an event permit.
Supervisor and Board President Mike Roberts said not requiring advance notice put a strain on law enforcement in both the county and the city of Oxford.
“We wanted any group who wanted to be out there to have the chance to do so,” Roberts said. “But we don’t have the manpower for groups to be up there every day.”
Roberts stated that the policy will give law enforcement time to review plans to provide the necessary security to keep people safe.
“We need to know what kind of personnel we need to have in place,” said Roberts.
The supervisors also decided not to allow any events on the Lafayette County Courthouse lawn after sundown. Any events – protests, rallies, art shows, et cetera, must end 30 minutes prior to sundown.
“It was decided having events there after dark could be a security issue,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he wasn’t aware of any direct threats of damaging the Confederate statue on the south side of the courthouse. The courthouse is owned by Lafayette County, not the City of Oxford, even though it is located in the heart of the city of Oxford.
He said the policy isn’t set in stone, and that the county could decide to come back and make it less or more restrictive in the future.
“We’re just trying to make it better and safer for everyone,” he said.