The same year major U.S. cities significantly reduced police funding, Democrat governors and city officials shelled out millions for their own safety.
An audit from OpenTheBooks.com, a watchdog organization dedicated to track “Every Dime, Online, in Real Time,” shows that security for public officials in many of these cities cost taxpayers millions of dollar per year.
“In 25 major U.S. cities across the country, officials have already cut — or proposed cutting — funds from police budgets,” Forbes reports. “In as many as 20 of those same cities, mayors and other city officials enjoy the personal protection of a dedicated police security detail.”
The price tag to protect “unnamed city officials” in Chicago hit a record high in 2020: $3.4 million for 22 officers. The same year, 400 police officer positions were cut from the force despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s stated belief that police officers are “not the enemy.”
In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed announced a plan to pull $120 million from law enforcement budgets over a two-year period. Concurrently, the city dropped $2.6 million in 2020 to protect Breed.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the cost Mayor Brendon Scott’s safety ran just under $2 million, including six officers and a sergeant. The same year, the city council voted to eliminate $22 million from the police’s annual budget.
The city of San Diego set aside $2.6 million in its 2021 budget for 12 full time officers to aid in protecting Mayor Todd Gloria, the city council during meetings, and other city administration building security. Even so, Gloria’s budget called for a $4.3 million cut in police overtime funds.
In New York City, $1 billion was chopped out of the $6 billion police budget for 2021. While the NYPD has not yet replied to Open The Books’ request for spending details, the New York Post reported Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $358,000 of public funds for security detail during his short-lived presidential bid in 2020.
“We recognize that the City must move away from failed racist policing [policies] of the past,” New York City Councilmember and chair of the Finance Committee Daniel Dromm said at the time. “This budget significantly scales back funding for law enforcement at [a] time when crime is at an all-time low and redirects those dollars towards services that uplift our communities during this time of great hardship.”
Forbes noted that the day of Dromm’s statement, there was a 130% increase in the number of shooting incidents compared to the year before. Also, murders were up 30%, burglaries were up 118%, and auto thefts had risen 51%, according to NYPD crime stats.
Though Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of Open The Books, requested comments from mayors in Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and San Diego, none were received.