- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

Security is costing extraordinary sums.
Police across much of the nation are putting in extra hours, checking bridges, water-filtration plants, dams, power plants, pipelines and factories producing hazardous chemicals. Extra police are patrolling waterfronts, airports and amusement parks. Many more are being assigned to sports events and other activities drawing large crowds.
Baltimore, Boston, the District, New York and Philadelphia have spent millions on police overtime since September 11.
Baltimore alone is asking the federal government for $2.7 million, mainly to compensate for the costs of policing during the alerts. Even Maryland's semirural Howard County wants $2.8 million to cover police and fire expenses resulting from increased security.
Philadelphia has been working police on 12-hour shifts and has spent more than $250,000 on overtime. A department spokesman says the police commissioner has publicly stated he doesn't know how often the force can stand the added burden of a full alert.
By Sept. 28, Boston's men in blue had burned 35,000 hours in overtime, costing the city some $2.5 million. Since the jets that devastated New York's World Trade Center were hijacked after leaving the city's Logan International Airport, local officials are acutely sensitive to threats of further attacks.
National Guard troops could be helping protect the Capitol as early as this week to temporarily relieve the 1,295 officers of the Capitol Police force, who have been working six-day weeks in daily shifts of at least 12 hours since September 11.
Congressional leaders have agreed the historic step is necessary, but several details remain unresolved, such as the weapons and vehicles the troops will use. No final announcement is expected for at least several days.
Current plans would deploy about 100 Guard troops divided into three shifts around the clock to be stationed on streets around the periphery of the Capitol complex, helping to inspect trucks and direct traffic, said House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney, Ohio Republican.
The last time troops helped guard the Capitol was in 1968, when President Johnson called out the National Guard to protect Washington and the Capitol during riots in the city, said assistant Senate historian Betty Koed.
The response to alerts has been costly even in areas not directly involved in either the highjackings or the anthrax assaults.
Extra police protection at public events and around public buildings in Minneapolis and St. Paul has cost more than $200,000. And the Associated Press reports that West Virginia's Division of Highways has spent $701,451 to have 220 contract workers keep an eye on bridges around the state.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently surveyed 93 small and medium-size cities, asking them to report the costs of added security since September 11. The results, which were published before the latest alerts, show the cities spent $122.5 million "to maintain heightened security."
The conference survey said, "There are nearly 1,200 cities in the United states, meaning that additional security costs for all cities across the country could easily top $1.5 billion over the next year."
Mayor Patrick McCrory of Charlotte, N.C., last week wrote to Tom Ridge, director of the White House Office of Homeland Security, gently complaining about the recent alerts. He stated that issuing a general alert, asking police to watch the general public rather than a specific group or physical target, is inefficient.
"It is my goal to provide the proper level of security for the Charlotte community without a large cost burden to the taxpayer, if possible. I would prefer to spend security funds on the small contingent of people who represent a threat rather than the general public who pose no threat."
Mr. McCrory said that different cities must respond to threats differently. And they do.
Consider, for example, Kansas City, Mo.; San Antonio; and Sioux City, Iowa.
Like other cities around the nation, the police of Sioux City (population 85,013) have been on heightened alert since September 11. Police Lt. Dave Hurni says: "We don't think anything much is going to happen around here, but there's still concern. We felt we had to put an officer at the airport, which operates 20 hours a day. We didn't do that before. So that's an overtime cost. Then we lost seven officers who were called to duty with the National Guard. We can't immediately replace them. That adds to the overtime."
But there's no overtime for the Kansas City cops. Officer Steve Young says that for the KCPD the alert merely means "giving some areas special attention" and maintaining "heightened awareness." Officer Young says the alerts have not stressed the department in any way.
And in San Antonio, "when we get an alert like this, we just reiterate to the community that there is a possible threat. We want the public to be our eyes and ears," says Sandy Gutierrez, the department's spokeswoman.
Then in answer to a question, she says: "Are we concerned? Absolutely. But levels of concern differ. We've been on the highest alert since September 11. The latest alert didn't change that, and the department has experienced no added stress."


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