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Accountabilityby Mark Reutter12:02 pmMay 16, 20240

Cost of protecting the mayor and two other city executives rises sharply, Baltimore inspector general finds

The price of police protection was considerably more than the equivalent services in other cities of similar size

Above: A police car passes by City Hall last month. (Mark Reutter)

Baltimore spent between $3.4 and $3.6 million last year to protect Mayor Brandon Scott, State’s Attorney Ivan Bates and Police Commissioner Richard Worley, Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming found in a report released today.

The price of police protection, offered exclusively to these officials, was considerably more than the equivalent services in cities of similar size, such as Portland, Memphis, Detroit and Oakland (see below).

Cumming said the direct costs of the 16-member Executive Protection Unit (EPU) have increased from $1.7 million to $2.9 million between fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2023, or 68%.

The increase came mostly from overtime granted to the 12 detective and three sergeants who schedule, accompany and guard the three executives during their official duties.

In addition, the “residential protection” of the home of one of the officials by uniformed patrol officers, deployed away from their regular duties, costs the city up to $600,000 a year.

Cumming today declined to name that official, but The Brew learned from police sources that Mayor Scott uses the service, which deploys a patrol car to guard his home around-the-clock, regardless of whether or not the mayor is there.

The report says that five police officers are detailed to guard the house, which requires “two overtime shifts per week and three to four shifts during the summer because of leave required due to contracted schedules.”

Based on this level of manpower, “the residential protection detail costs can be estimated to be approximately $400,000 to $600,000 annually,” the report said.

The cost of protecting the mayor and other executives in other cities. (OIG Case 23-0044-I)

The cost of protecting the mayor and other executives in Baltimore and in seven other cities. (OIG Case 23-0044-I)

Seven-member Mayoral Unit

Mayor Scott is protected in his daily duties by a seven-member executive detail (six detective and one sergeant), while Bates and Worley have four-member details.

In fiscal 2023, police overtime costs amounted to 2,277 hours for the mayor, 1,621 hours for Bates and 340 hours for Worley, Cumming said in response to questions submitted by The Brew.

Both the hours and administration of the EPU are loosely controlled, according to the report.

The police unit has no standard operating procedures and no “official threat assessment to determine the staffing level needs of the protectees.”

“Overtime occurs when the protectee’s day runs longer than the scheduled hours of coverage,” the report noted, and the schedules assigned to some EPU detectives are limited to only weekday assignments.

Weekend Overtime

As a result, nearly all weekend assignments guarding the mayor, state’s attorney and police commissioner are paid in overtime, which amounted to $331,000 last year.

The unit has no standard operating procedures, no written guidance on how many detectives should be assigned to each executive, and no “official threat assessment to determine the staffing level needs of the protectees.”

Cumming recommends that the EPU budget be moved from the police department to the mayor’s and state’s attorney’s annual budgets to improve transparency. Moreover, the costs of residential protection, now buried in the police department’s district patrol budget, should be included in the EPU’s budget.

In a response to the OIG, Worley said the police are “already in the process of implementing changes that were included in your recommendations,” saying a draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is in the works.

“The SOP will standardize operations between all three executive protection teams and outline the required staffing for each team,” Worley said.

Also in the works is a new schedule that “will decrease weekend overtime expenditures and ensure a more balanced workload for all personnel,” he promised

While the new schedule will “be more efficient,” Worley also warned that the unit will still have to rely on overtime because “we are still limited in fully staffing EPU.”

• To reach a reporter: reuttermark@yahoo.com

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