PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Last year, more than $100,000 was spent on security for the mayor and the acting police chief says it’s necessary.
“It’s my responsible to ensure his safety and I’m not going to drop the ball on that,” acting Chief Regina McDonald said.
Like Nate Harper before her, McDonald says protection of the mayor is paramount — even if it requires a bodyguard to be with him every time he’s in his office or out in public.
“And if that requires some overtime than some overtime then it’s necessary to provide that overtime,” McDonald said.
Last year the mayor’s fulltime bodyguard made $92,000 guarding the mayor — of which $35,000 was overtime.
Another officer assigned to the detail made $38,000 in overtime.
The total cost of protecting the mayor $140,000 — total overtime costs $73,000.
“I had one bodyguard, and I never took him out of town with me,” former Mayor Tom Murphy said.
The numbers dwarf those of former mayors like Murphy — but do include the costs of guards traveling out of town with the mayor to places like Washington D.C. and Harrisburg.
And McDonald confirmed that the guards do accompany the mayor on social occasions in town at bars and restaurants.
When asked if the public should pay for the mayor’s security if he’s out a nightclub, McDonald said, “As I said, if he’s out in the public we feel it’s necessary for him to have a security officer with him.”
And with no change in policy, the cost of the mayor’s security detail is likely to cost as much this year as it did last year –the price, says Chief McDonald, of providing protection for the city’s top officials.