Last week CMPD Captain Jeff Estes told reporters that the costs of containing and monitoring the 30 people associated with Occupy Charlotte was more than $447,000.
CMPD Capt. Jeff Estes speakes to local reporters.
Photo Credit Grant Baldwin and CLT Blog More Photos are here.
The dollar figure that Capt. Estes gave reporters apparently included all of CMPD's expenses since the protests began nearly four months ago. Estes stressed the fact that CMPD didn't pay any overtime in connection with the Occupy Charltote prostesters.
According to the Charlotte Observer police Captain Jeff Estes said the figure was determined by tracking officers' hours during the past few months and calculating their salary for those hours. It includes events from Occupy Charlotte's initial march on Oct. 8 that drew more than 600 people, through last week's enforcement of the new city rules on demonstrations, a little less than four months.
CMPD kept an eyey on Occupy Charlotte activities at the makeshift "tent city" on the old City Hall lawn, as well as during marches to various sites in uptown since the fall.
But the following day Estes clarified his statements by saying some the $447,000 included the costs of Command Staff meeting to discuss the Occupy Charlotte situation. While Estes didn't back track the "restatement of costs" caught a few people off guard.
With the "clairfication" some in the MSM started asking for a more detailed accounting. To Cedar Posts something just wasn't adding up and reporters only need to look at reported costs in other cities.
Charlotte's Occupy movement has never amounted to much. Despite Charlotte's new found fame as host of the 2012 DNC Convention, outside agitators and anarchists have stayed away. The small Occupy Charlotte Group has never had more than two dozen people at a time sleeping over night and seldom averaged more than three dozen standing around during the day.
Fortunately Charlotte has been spared the riots and police confrontations that cities like New York and Oakland California have endured.
But what about other cities?
Back on November 23, 2011 Chicago announced that Occupy Chicago had cost the city about $49,000 after two months. Police department’s projected costs are $48,767 the majority of it in overtime.
Austin, Texas had spent about $9,800 as of Nov. 15, for cleanup to the plaza in front of City Hall.
Providence Rhode Island, wrote a check for about $9,000 as of Nov. 15, including extended hours and maintenance for restrooms and police overtime.
Des Moines, Iowa about $7,800 as of Nov. 15, mostly for police overtime.
Columbia, South Carolina reported $17,000 in costs that included evicting protesters at the end of November.
Nashville, had estimated costs at $4,500, as of November 20, including expenses for daily cleaning of entrances to Capitol, increased chemicals in plaza fountain because of urine and debris, and electricity usage by protesters. State estimates another $25,000 for cleanup and repair after protesters leave.
St. Louis, Missouri $2,200, for overtime and other costs to parks employees.
Washington DC, spent about $1,000 as of Nov. 15, for less than 20 hours of police overtime.
Finally Los Angeles, had more than $120,000 in costs, for services such as recreation and parks, street services, security and city attorney work to handle the 500 tents and 2,000 protesters that had camped out for nearly two months.
In fairness, some cities like New York, Portland and Oakland have spent more than $1 million dollars to deal with massive crowds and in some case riots and forced evictions of hundreds of protesters.
But with a little simple math and it is clear something is wrong with CMPD's accounting. It shouldn't cost more than 100k per month to keep an eye of two dozen basically well behaved but smelly protesters.