At least 20 Democratic mayors and other city officials have to use personal protection from a police detail at taxpayers’ expense after they have cut or proposed cutting funds from police budgets, according to Washington Examiner.
The news outlet citing an analysis conducted by Forbes revealed that the calls to defund the police—coupled with taxpayer dollars spent on protecting public officials—only occurred in cities run by Democratic mayors.
In May, the auditors at OpenTheBooks.com sent requests to 25 major cities, asking which city officials have police details, how many officers are assigned, and how much money it costs.
The results show that many mayors and city officials have privately reaped the benefits from a dedicated police security presence.
In Chicago, for example, the city spent $17.3 million from 2015 to 2020 to guard “unnamed city officials.” Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she opposed defunding police, the records indicated that 400 police officers were quietly cut from their positions during 2020, while the security detail cost hit an all-time high of $3.4 million for 22 officers.
New York City was found slashing $1 billion from its $6 billion police budget in 2021, reallocating $354 million to mental health, homelessness, and education services. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family have had no problems traveling the country with an NYPD security detail. During Blasio’s failed presidential campaign in 2020, his police detail reportedly cost taxpayers $358,000.
Baltimore cut $22 million from its police budget in 2020 but spent $3.6 million for 14 officers to protect Mayor Brandon Scott, the state’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. In addition, the city saw widespread protests against police in 2020 over the death of George Floyd, which triggered protests over police brutality and calls to defund the police.
In San Francisco, officials promised to divest $120 million from police over two years and move the money into health programs. Instead, however, the city spent $12.4 million between 2015 and 2020 to protect Mayor London Breed.
In San Diego, the city council this year budgeted $2.6 million for 12 full-time officers to protect Mayor Todd Gloria and the council members during meetings and for security at the city administration building. However, Gloria’s budget proposed a $4.3 million cut from the police overtime budget while spending $1 million to set up a new oversight body to review and evaluate complaints brought by the public against police officers.
Many other mayors in cities around the country have also publicly called for defunding the police but have privately reaped the benefits from police security presence.