Auditor Wants Portland Cops to Charge Presidential Campaigns for Their Services

Visiting politicians cause officers to rack up overtime and local taxpayers cover the cost.

The city of Portland has spent at least $180,000 on police services for visiting presidential candidates in the past two years and in a report released today, city Auditor Mary Hull Caballaro says it's time to make the candidates' campaigns foot the bill.

The most expensive recent visit, estimated at 1,400 staff hours worth $89,000, came when President Barack Obama visited in May 2015 to make a speech at Nike promoting the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement.

As with visits that presidential wannabes such as Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and others have made, the Portland Police Bureau put officers on streets to handle traffic and security but did so without compensation.

Should presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump visit Portland before the November general election, the cost of putting police on streets could eclipse the costs of earlier visits by Clinton and Sanders.

Here's the gist of the audit:

The audit notes the $180,000 estimate for the past two years understates the cost of candidate visits because it only includes salaries and not benefits and other indirect costs.
Police Chief Larry O’Dea, who is now on administrative leave after presenting conflicting accounts of an April 21 incident in which he shot a friend in the back, agreed with the auditor’s recommendations.
“I am hopeful this audit’s findings will assist in the billing and collection of such payment from presidential campaigns,” O’Dea wrote.