The permit granted by the city for private events only ensures adequate parking, first aid and emergency exits, not traffic routing, city Mayor Randy McClement (R) said.
Tough Mudder organizers had hired seven off-duty police officers, but several more were pulled from In The Street festival duty in downtown Frederick to direct traffic on Route 15 Saturday, McClement said.
“We told [Mudder organizers] we weren’t happy with the amount of force we had to put into this,” McClement said.
The mayor said the city will consider asking for reimbursement for police services after he has a chance to review “the whole scenario.”
Tough Mudders, which also raises money for the Wounded Warriors project, attracted thousands of spectators and 28,000 participants to the 12-mile obstacle course.
Charles Crum, owner of the property, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Organizers failed to consider the traffic impact of the event, according to officials and would-be participants.
The northbound lane of U.S. 15 was backed up for several miles, and Opposumtown Pike, the alternate route, was backed up from Willow Road to Motter Avenue. Eventgoers complained of sitting in traffic for several hours waiting to park.
“This was totally unacceptable,” Frederick Police Chief Kim Dine said. “Clearly, this was too many people for that event. In pulling the permit, we took responsive action. ... It was messed up.”
Dine said the city recommended that organizers bus people in, and their response was that there was no place large enough to handle the parking.
City police were ill-equipped to handle the impact of the traffic, and only received help from Maryland State Police when traffic conditions on U.S. 15 grew untenable.
Cpl. Todd Hill of the state police said Saturday afternoon that state police responded after the city’s event “spilled over onto our roadways.”
Dine “attempted to pull in the Frederick Sheriff’s Office and state police before the event, and they had no interest,” according to Josh Russin, executive assistant to the mayor.
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (R) did not return multiple telephone calls Sunday or Monday.
The city’s annual In The Street celebration Saturday was projected to draw about 50,000 to downtown, and Frederick police were stretched thin, according to Russin.
McClement said he was “surprised” at comments made by Jenkins in the Frederick News Post about the sherriff’s decision to opt out of the event
“I was surprised to read the sheriff’s comments that ‘It’s not our problem,’ because we do try to cooperate when things like this happen,” McClement said.