Protecting the mayor has become a more expensive task in Sacramento.
In less than two years, Mayor Kevin Johnson's security detail has cost the city more than $260,000, records show, making his average weekly bill more than four times the police escort costs of former Mayor Heather Fargo.
The security bill does not include $50,706 the city spent earlier this year, at the request of the mayor's office, on a new hybrid sport-utility vehicle to chauffeur Johnson around. Another $6,000 was spent on police equipment for the vehicle.
The 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid was purchased in April through a state contract that uses Coalinga Motors as a vendor. That meant $4,122 in sales tax on the purchase went to a city 200 miles south of Sacramento. Johnson has said buying the vehicle was part of the city's efforts to become more environmentally friendly.
In order to pay for the new truck, the city opted not to purchase a forklift for the Police Department and not to replace another SUV.
The mayor's office said the increase in security expenses is a result of Johnson's schedule.
"Mayor Johnson works significantly more hours than the previous mayor, so it's hardly a surprise his security costs are higher," said the mayor's chief of staff, Kunal Merchant.
While Fargo's police escorts spent an average of about 18 hours a week with the mayor in 2008, Johnson's detail averages roughly 68 hours a week.
Johnson's security expenses were included in the city's response to a Public Records Act request made by the Democratic Party of Sacramento County. The Bee obtained the documents through a separate Public Records Act request of the Democratic Party's application.
Personnel documents show that between the time Johnson took office in December 2008 and the second week of October, reserve police officers spent 6,512 hours with the mayor. The cost of that security was $263,290.
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