May 6th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

Coffee, Tasers and Pizza! The Portland Police Expense Account Trivia Challenge


As of last month, the Portland Police Bureau was over budget for the current fiscal year and will likely face budget cuts next year along with other city bureaus. So we decided to take a look at what the bureau's been dropping cash on over the last year.

What we found may amuse and surprise you. At the very least, the expenditures spotlight the bureau's priorities at a time of increasing tension between cops and the community.

Over the last 12 months, the police have used their city-issued credit cards to make 7,955 purchases totaling nearly $1,451,858. That's less than 1 percent of the bureau's total $163,267,055 in operating costs this fiscal year.

Now some trivia about the bureau's nearly $1.5 million in credit-card buys:

Q. Which does the bureau spend more on — Tasers, or the bureau's program maintaining and flying two Cessna surveillance planes?

A. Tasers. The bureau spent $36,026 on stun guns and $23,422 on parts, hangar space and training for its airplane program.

Q. Where did cops spend more money — Guam or Disneyland?

A. Guam. Police dropped $1,775 at Fiesta Resort Guam and $1,454 at Disney. (Cops were in Guam for gang-intervention training, and the bureau was reimbursed by the feds. At Disney, they also attended a police conference. No federal reimbursement for the Disney trip.)

Q. Which did the bureau spend more on — animal care or trophies?

A. Animal care. Cops spent $6,908 at Petsmart, Petco, an animal dentistry clinic and an animal allergy and ear clinic. (Police maintain a mounted patrol program and K9 units.) Meantime the bureau spent $6,464 on trophies for its employees.

Q. Which did cops spend more on — pizza or coffee?

A. Pizza, to the tune of $18,633. (Their favorite is Pizza Hut, where they dropped $6,167.) The coffee bill came to $15,291. (Starbucks blew away Seattle's Best by $7,109 to $3,754.)

Q. Which do cops prefer, Subway or Quiznos?

A. Amazingly, Subway. They voted with their credit cards, $1,374 to $724.

Q. Why did the bureau spend $5,319 at Southwest Portland's Mittleman Jewish Community Center, including $4,809 at the center's Cafe at the J — billed as "Portland's only kosher dairy restaurant?"

A. The 30th anniversary celebration for the GirlStrength program.
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