You know how when you watch college football, you always see tubby state troopers in Smokey The Bear hats running alongside coaches as they jog to the locker room (probably before giving the coach/team a special police escort to the airport)? Local government is something like that.
US Senators and members of Congress don't have bodyguards, but the mayor and county exec do. Are the local leaders in danger? I don't know. In years of covering Mayor Tom Murphy I only remember thinking he might be in physical danger one time -- and that was when he was walking past hundreds of justifiably angry cops.
Fast-forwarding to the current administration, Ginny Montanez at That's Church takes on Luke Ravensthal for this report by KDKA-TV that his police security detail racked up $200,000 in overtime the past two years (more than Murphy's bodyguards collected in his twelve years in office):
Keep in mind that I’ve had dealings with both Mayors Murphy and O’Connor and county executive Dan Onorato, and I have had interactions with each of their security details. Yours is by FAR the most posse-like. I’m not going to get into details here about the differences between administrations, because that’s actually not the point of my letter to you.
My point is that you were asked by KDKA to go on record about this gross abuse of overtime pay by your security detail and you said, and I quote, “It’s not a story.”
I beg to differ.
Here’s why it’s a story. Because of the faltering pension. Because of your threats to cut overtime pay for regular hard-working cops while your elite security detail is taking baths in cold hard cash. Because of the supposed reason you cut the South Side patrols that were doing an effective job of cutting down on what makes the South Side turn into Sodom and Gomorrah each weekend.
We the people are not stupid. We know the real reason you cut the South Side patrols. Because you were angry that Kraus wouldn’t support your parking lease plan after you met with him to ask him to. If I were outlining the story, it would go like this: South Side patrols are working four weekends in a row. The police announce the patrols are working and that they will continue. You meet with Kraus, Shields and others to ask support of the lease plan. Kraus says no. Nate Harper suddenly, mysteriously, out of the blue cuts South Side patrols claiming:
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard, repeating the explanation she gave last week, said the city’s yearly pool of money for special details is dwindling. Some, she said, has to be kept in reserve for emergencies.