Editor’s Note: This is an installment in our occasional series, It’s Your Money, that looks more closely at public expenses that taxpayers may not realize they’re being asked to pay.
If you’re a bigwig coming to Oahu you can expect a free personal escort from the Honolulu Police Department.
Not only will HPD provide you with your very own security detail, but the motorcade and bomb-sweeping services are also on the house.
You can’t just be any hot shot, though. Sorry, Kayne and Kardashian. To get this deal you have to be pretty darn special. You know, like the President of the Free World, Barack Obama, or His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
In fact, during Fiscal Year 2012, which ended on June 30, HPD enlisted the help of 206 officers and two sergeants to provide politicians and dignitaries with security during their visits.
This was even the case when some of those visitors had their own details, such as the U.S. Secret Service or Bureau of Diplomatic Security, already watching their back.
While HPD doesn’t track the total cost of these special details, it does follow how much it spends on overtime. For Fiscal Year 2012, that amount was $219,374.19.
Here’s a breakdown of who HPD protected and how much it spent in overtime:
|Visitor||Dates||No. of Officers||Overtime Cost|
|U.S. Attorney Eric Holder||July 10-16, 2011||25||$10,581.74|
|Vice President Joe Biden||July 24-25, 2011||23||$26,299.76|
|President Barack Obama||Nov. 14-15, 2011||46||$18,481.35|
|President Barack Obama and family||Dec. 16, 2011-Jan. 2, 2012||47||$130,960.73|
|First Lady Laura Bush||Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2012||4||$2,044.88|
|Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta||March 8-9, 2012||9||$781.09|
|The Dalai Lama||April 13-April 17, 2012||15||$14,252.31|
|Li Changchun, propaganda chief of the Communist Party of China||April 24-April 25, 2012||27||$11,585.42|
|Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta||May 30-May 31, 2012||12||$4,386.91|
The city didn’t get reimbursed for any of the costs it incurred during these visits. That’s because the federal government considers dignitary protection and security a state responsibility, HPD Spokeswoman Michelle Yu said. The sole exception was four years ago when HPD received partial reimbursement when Obama was president-elect.
But HPD doesn’t always pick up the tab when helping out other agencies.
For example, there were at least four times HPD helped the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with investigations that the federal agency reimbursed the city for overtime expenses. The total amount refunded was $4,263.40 for the work of nine officers.
On other occasions HPD assisted the FBI with search warrants and other investigations in which it provided dozens of officers and had to swallow the costs.
The amount of money HPD receives from outside agencies is compiled in its Annual Report of Intergovernmental Agreements.