Pastor Terry Jones may be billed by the Gainesville Police Department for the security it has been providing for his media circus.  Before Jones put on hold his plan to burn 200 Qu’rans on the lawn of his Dove World Outreach Center in the hometown of the University of Florida, City Manager Russ Blackburn told the Gainesville Sun, “We definitely plan on sending him a bill.”

The expense could be far more than Jones is making on the “Islam is of The Devil” book, T-shirts and coffee mugs Dove World sells. The Gainesville city manager estimated that security for a volatile Qu’ran burning would have cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Even though Jones canceled — then un-canceled, then re-canceled — the stunt, Gainesville police and other law enforcement agencies have steadily beefed up security around Dove World, swarmed by TV trucks, reporters, protesters and sight-seers.

Jones may have some regrets about having mounted a “no homo mayor” campaign against openly gay mayoral candidate Craig Lowe.  Lowe was elected and is now running the city that would issue any bills for security.

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said she, too, may send Jones a bill even though he canceled the event.  “We’ll see what the costs are,” she told the Sun. “I don’t want that to have any sort of dampening effect on any negotiations that may be under way.”  Her deputies on Wednesday painted over a billboard advertising Dove World’s “International Burn a Koran Day.”  The sign already had been hit by vandals, who sprayed “NAZIS” across the sign.  The man who rented Dove World the space said he did so after members agreed to take care of the grass.

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.