Police spending $208,000-plus to keep up with Occupy Portland
Update: Chief directs officers to carry riot-related gear at all times
Police costs for overtime related to the Portland Occupy protests has now exceeded $208,000, according to figures released by the bureau late Thursday.
According to the police, the total reached $208,796 as of Oct. 25, 2011. That does not include all of the overtime costs from the last few days, including the controversial march that took place on Wednesday. During that march, police said a protester pushed a sergeant into a moving TriMet bus, slightly injuring him.
Mayor Sam Adams and the Portland Police Association have both denounced the violence.
The most recent figures show 3,962 hours of overtime at $52.70 per hour.
Portland Parks and Recreation also estimates the protesters have caused at least $19,000 worth of damage to Chapman and Lownsdale squares, where they have been camped since Oct. 6. Adams is allowing them to stay there, despite city rules against public camping.
Then on Friday, the bureau released an internal memo from Police Chief Mike Reese praising officers for their professionalism dealing with the protesters so far, but asking them to always carry riot-related gear with them in case they are needed to help handle unexpected events, such as the Wednesday march.
In the memo, Reese said, "All sworn officers will have their gas mask, baton, and helmet immediately availlable. Exceptions require branch chief approval. All sworn members should be prepared to deploy in a timely manner. I am reaching out to other agencies, asking for mutual aid agreements for this prolonged events."
In response to questions from the Portland Tribune, both the bureau and Mayor's Office said there was no schedule for clearing the sqaures of protesters.