Thousands of dollars in overtime for the Memphis Mayor’s personal security detail isn’t sitting well with many people. But it’s not just the money causing concern. Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland finds himself this week defending an expenditure of more than $200,000 in police overtime cost for 24-hour security for the mayor and his family. And the defense is absolutely valid. The police department is right to provide round the clock protection for the mayor, who has been the target of implied and explicit death threats.
Strickland at first dismissed the idea of 24-hour security. But that changed in December 2016 after protesters showed up on his front lawn early one morning for an organized demonstration. Some of the protesters were seen peering through the windows of the mayor’s home.
The leader of that protest told the COMMERCIAL APPEAL that the extra security cost is pointless because his group posed no threat.
To which I say, nonsense. Anyone prowling around and looking through windows of a private residence is a threat.
But that’s minor compared to the far more ominous threats the mayor received through social media after orchestrating the removal of Confederate statues from city parks. Those profanity laced death threats must be taken seriously.
The $200,000 in overtime went to just two officers. And that’s not good. It underscores the need for more police on the force.
But the mayor took an oath to do everything in his power to protect the interest of the city. And the city has an obligation to protect him.