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I have measured quite a lot with assistance from local police, with many of the jurisdictions in this area. They have been extremely helpful, and most have gone out of their way to encourage me to take whatever time I need to do my work properly and they would provide protection.

Most (but not all) police jurisdictions around here do require payment for these services, so I let the race sponsors work out the financial arrangements.

It's best to have a good conversation before you start, in order to explain what you're doing, especially how you might be riding erratically as they see it in order to follow the SPR. And even after that conversation, you'll need a good way to communicate what you're going to do (changing lanes, stopping, etc).

For some of the more challenging measurements I've found it helpful to have two police escorts; they can close down intersections just before I arrive, or close down two lanes at a time, etc.

For a number of years I've worked with the same 2 or 3 officers in the MPD (Metropolitan Police); a great advantage is they totally understand what I'm likely to do and how they can keep me safe.
For the Detroit Marathon they close the tunnel between Detroit and Windsor while we measure, and they close the small section of interstate on the course as well. We are escorted across the Ambassador Bridge but it is not closed.
I have asked about a police escort in my town north of Detroit and got it without payment. I asked in a neighboring community and was told they don't do that.
In my experience, getting police protection is likely only for events that are large enough to afford the non-trivial cost. In my neck 'o the woods, the overtime pay for one officer runs about $65 an hour, depending on the local jurisdiction. Most jurisdictions require a 3 or 4 hour minimum. You can do the arithmetic.

I recently measured a half marathon that traverses one of our major U.S. highways for about 8 of the 13.1+ miles. The race couldn't afford the police protection, or the police said they didn't have the manpower - I never learned which. However, the company that the race hired to lay out the considerable number of permit-required barricades and cones had a truck with a yellow light atop. They offered to do the job for free. With their help, I had to do only one offset maneuver to measure the course twice. Passing police took little notice of us, even as we briefly blocked traffic from time to time. Measuring here without this protection would have taken me two days instead of one, I am certain.
Any time I am measuring a half marathon or longer, I require police escort. If one can't be provided, the race director will ride a vehicle with a flashing light. We can't do any work on Disney property without a police escort for the highway work. They require one state and one sheriff. I'm not sure why they make the distinction, except that it may be due to the different roads we use.

Payment is always required for these escorts. I also let the race personnel handle the finances and making contact to work out who will be meeting me.

To help the police do their job well, I create the map ahead of time, sans the key points (though there is an indicator on the map for where they may land as we measure). They see the coning that will happen, and they know the roads. Like Bob, I explain exactly what I am going to do, as well. I will also talk with the officers often, when I have stopped at a mile mark, to let them know what to expect for the next mile.

Once you've hired an officer, they are working for you, so communicate your needs and they are usually very helpful.
I have measured the NYC Half course with David Katz several times (the NYRR has modified the layout almost yearly it seems. The first 6 miles is mostly within the traffic-free roads of Central Park; after that it's city streets, including Times Square and the West Side Speedway, er, Highway. Even though we measure late night/early morning NY is truly the City That Never Sleeps.
The first year we had an NYPD escort for the street section but subsequent rides we only had NYRR staff in an SUV equipped with a police package light setup (we were told "don't ask" when we inquired how they got that setup.
There's nothing quite like pissing off NYC drivers while you ride!
Incidentally one of the diciest parts of the ride for me is near the end going through the Battery Underpass tunnel at the lower tip of Manhattan. The safest I felt there was the year it was closed at night for repairs of flooding damage from Sandy. Truly an ill wind that blows no one good.
Sounds pretty spooky on those NYC roads at night, Jim. I'm not a fan of measuring in the dark, but I know full well it can't always be avoided.

Your comment about NYC drivers reminds me of the time I was measuring the National Marathon with Bob Thurston, being escorted by the highly capable D.C. MPD officers Bob mentions above. D.C. locals are accustomed to occasional motorcades passing through downtown, momentarily shutting down traffic. But this is done only for our president and for foreign heads of state. Bob and I enjoyed this same "parting of the seas" in downtown D.C. traffic as we measured. The "who do these nut jobs think they are" looks we got from pedestrians along the way was priceless.

Even better, a few hours into the day, one of the officers suggested we take a break and grab a sandwich. We were on Capitol Hill at the time. He liked a certain Starbucks in the downtown D.C. business district. Bob and I carefully recorded and marked our leaving-off point and headed on down past Union Station, down K Street, lighted-up cruisers in front of us and behind us, cars and pedestrians pulling over for us, as we cycled to lunch. Too much fun. I will never forget this!

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