Documents show how much Thompson security detail cost taxpayers - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Documents show how much Thompson security detail cost taxpayers

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Documents obtained by abc27 News from a source within the Harrisburg City Government Center show how much city police were paid in overtime earnings to work a security detail for former mayor Linda Thompson.

The slips show that $16,448 was paid in 2010 alone; $13,796 was earned by one police detective.

Police overtime for Thompson's inaugural ball in 2010 totaled $1,766.

Thompson said she had received threats early on in her administration and that the security detail was needed to protect her. She even instituted a police guard at the front desk of the government center.

"I was surprised by the amount," said City Councilman Brad Koplinski when hearing about the amount. "But it was not completely unexpected given what we had seen over the years. Not to minimize any threat against her, but I believe police should be out on the streets and not protecting the mayor."

Our source said police staffing was low during 2010, and that police many times had only 6 or 7 officers on the street for the entire city in an effort to save money on overtime. Yet at least one officer, and sometimes two or three, would be driving the mayor around in a security detail.

Koplinski said City Council would pressure Thompson on certain expenses that she would claim in subsequent years, which may have accounted for the decrease in police overtime spending after 2010.

In the final three years of her term in office, the mayor's security detail only logged $5,060 in overtime. But that figure doesn't include the officer at the City Government Center.

Was it a legitimate expense, especially for a city dealing with crime and financial issues?

When Mayor Eric Papenfuse took office this month, he removed the guard from the entrance to the government center and not only decided against using bodyguards, he declined to use a city vehicle, instead opting to drive himself.

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