San Francisco to spend $1.8M protecting Mayor Ed Lee, other dignitaries 

Remember when it was a huge controversy that Mayor Gavin Newsom went to Montana to get married and a sworn police officer drove a city-issued sports utility vehicle all the way to the wedding to protect him.

And then there was a question about Newsom campaigning for governor all over the state with his security detail in tow.

Well, the San Francisco Police Department never wanted to give out the cost of that protection — as well as the cost of protecting other visiting dignitaries or city officials — for fear of giving away too much information about their super-secret tactics.

And they still don’t want to give away that information, even when hundreds of officers are assigned to protect the president of the United States when he visits San Francisco on a fundraising trip.

But after some wrangling from Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and after a ballot measure passed back in 2010, the police department is now required to list dignitary protection as a line item on its budget.

And that amount is $1,823,274, according to the mayor’s budget director, Greg Wagner.

So, now you know.

Police Chief George Gascón released a number in late 2009 about the total costs of dignitary protection. That amount was $2,072,597 but he would not say how much was specifically devoted to Newsom.

What we do know now, however, is that police plans on spending $249,323 less on protection now that Mayor Ed Lee is in office.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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