Editor: It’s official: the City of San Diego and its Police Department have finally released figures on how much is being spent patrolling the Occupy San Diego protests. (Were they finally pressured to do so by our searing posts? See here.) The City has spent nearly $57,000 daily and a total of $2.4 million on the protests since they began on October 7th. This does not include costs for the County Sheriffs when they were used. Here’s the San Diego U-T coverage:
By Matthew T. Hall and Ashly McGlone / San Diego U-T / Nov. 22, 2011
The city’s police department said Tuesday it paid $143,918 in overtime costs for four major operations during the Occupy San Diego protests against corporate greed that began Oct. 7 at Civic Center Plaza.
The overtime covers four periods of beefed-up patrols: a march on the first night that drew 1,500 demonstrators and police sweeps of the area on Oct. 14, Oct. 28 and Nov. 16.
In releasing figures the media had sought for weeks, police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown said in a statement that the department “has spent just over $2.4 million to maintain order and safety at the demonstration sites.”
Yet most of that amount — about $2.26 million — is not an additional expense to the city. It is what officers would have been paid regardless of where they were stationed.
In the past week, about 20 officers and two sergeants have been monitoring the protests at any given time, Brown said. Diverted officers are leaving their typical patrol areas to watch over the demonstrations, a move that keeps staffing costs in check but decreases the police presence elsewhere.
“This redeployment has been in the form of every division supplying one to three officers every shift, every day, taking them away from the neighborhoods they are assigned to serve,” Brown said in the statement. “The redeployment also includes administrative and investigative personnel who have been taken away from their caseloads.”
Just before the department sent out its calculations, demonstrators occupied a federal courtroom a few blocks from City Hall. So many gathered there for a hearing in a lawsuit protesters have brought against the city and police department that some people were turned away. Occupy members are seeking a temporary restraining order, and then an injunction, to stop the department from using Section 54.0110 of the city’s municipal code to ban items from being set on public ground.
The police cited the provision last week to clear out tarps, tables, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, clothing and food near the downtown plaza. Protesters said they are routinely barred from setting down items as varied as flags, folding chairs, plants and bagels.
Attorneys for the protesters said the provision is vague and overly broad, while city attorneys said it doesn’t impede the occupiers’ protests.
A ruling from Judge William Hayes could come as early as Wednesday
Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long declined to comment on the litigation.
In an interview, Brown said she didn’t know how the department would pay the overtime incurred during the four big operations. As of Nov. 17, a day after the last major police sweep, officers had made a total of 89 arrests and citations.
The figures released Tuesday do not include staff time spent by police chiefs and captains, or costs incurred by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for assistance during sweeps conducted Oct. 28 and Nov. 16, police officials said. The sheriff’s department said it had not calculated its expenses. No costs have been incurred by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for the Occupy North County movement, according to Sgt. Robin Lawrence from the Encinitas sheriff’s station. Those protests, which began in mid-October, involve weekend marches but no overnight camping.
Meanwhile, the city of San Diego has paid nearly $4,860 from its parks and recreation budget as a result of the Occupy movement, including $3,910.82 to power wash the plaza on Oct. 28 for eight hours.
For the original article and for some nifty photos, please go here.