Berkeley protests cost city $211K

March 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Berkeley has spent nearly $211,000 on police overtime to try to keep the peace during protests at the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center and Old City Hall, police spokesman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said today.

The overtime was racked up over 16 days so far this year in which officers have had to work overtime to deal with protests, Kusmiss said. She said the total of $210,814.13 so far this year includes about $93,000 during an all-day protest at Old City Hall on Feb. 12 that drew about 2,000 people, divided nearly equally between anti-war protestors and military supporters.

The Feb. 12 rally was in conjunction with a Berkeley City Council meeting on issues stemming from ongoing protests at the Marine Corps recruiting center in downtown Berkeley, which opened about 14 months ago.

At its Jan. 29 meeting, the City Council voted to send a letter to the U.S. Marines telling them the recruiting center "is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

The City Council's action sparked outrage among many people throughout the country.

At its Feb. 12 meeting, the City Council moderated its position, saying it opposes the war in Iraq but supports the troops.

Kusmiss said the Police Department normally spends between $2,500 and $3,500 per week on overtime, so the cost for an average six-week period would be from $15,000 to $21,000.

Kusmiss said the money to pay for the nearly $211,000 in police overtime costs will come from the city's general fund, not from the Police Department's budget.

Kusmiss said that in addition to police overtime costs, the city has other overtime costs associated with the protests for services by other departments.

She said the Public Health and Environmental Health departments both have had extra overtime costs, but she didn't have the specific numbers.


Load Comments