- Posted July 10, 2009 by
Los Angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Remembering Michael Jackson
What $1.4 million in taxpayer-funded security looks like in L.A.
The Michael Jackson memorial event not only attracted a horde of fans and news media, but also cops. I saw lots and lots of them on the way to the Staples Center. Some initial overblown estimates speculated that as many as 750,000 would flood the downtown area. However, the LAPD's citywide campaign advising those without tickets to stay home and watch the event on television appears to have paid off with traffic gridlock kept to a minimum. Many of the officers were reportedly taken off duty early when the arriving crowd did not reflect worst case scenarios that were feared. This may have brought down the estimated cost to the city down from earlier projections of $2 to 4 million.
To the credit of the LAPD, the memorial event did proceed in a relatively orderly and respectful manner. Nevertheless, with 3,500 lunches for all the officers costing the city upwards of $50,000 and an overwhelmed city website gathering only $17,000, it's unclear when or if the taxpayers of Los Angeles will recoup these expenses.
1. LAPD officers seal off the MJ memorial banners after the event.
2. Streets passing by the Staples Center are closed to the public.
3. Officers guard street corners around the Staples Center.
4. Concrete barriers and officers on bikes keep out people who do not have a wristband and ticket to the event.
5. An armada of patrol cars, some unmarked, line the streets next to the Staples Center.
6. Some officers stand guard among the crowd in front of the Staples Center entrance before it is opened.
7. Mounted police on horses make their way through the crowd.
8. Several choppers could be heard in the sky at any given time.
9. The Los Angeles Fire Department was also on hand at the Staples Center.
10. Costs of cleaning up after the crowds -- and horses -- present potential hidden costs that may hit city taxpayers afterwards.
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