We’re starting to find out how much the removal of the Confederate monuments has cost the city of New Orleans. So far, it is cost a lot of money.
The New Orleans Police Department dedicated more than 200 officers and 8,600 man-hours to keep the peace at three Confederate monuments as the city removed them last month, city records show.
The cash-strapped city spent more than $173,000 on paying officers deployed to protests and removal operations at the Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee monuments, including $112,000 in time-and-a-half overtime pay that went to 178 officers.
The city overtime data and expenses were provided to WWL-TV in response to the station’s public records request for police overtime dedicated to the removal of four monuments starting with the Battle of Liberty Place monument on April 24.
But the records only go back to April 30 and do not appear to include police overtime costs associated with the Liberty Place monument, a Jim Crow-era obelisk that celebrated an 1874 uprising by white supremacists against the city’s integrated police force.
WWL-TV also spoke to a spokesman for the local Fraternal Order of Police who said the police were annoyed by being taken off their regular duties to keep peace at the monuments. However, that same spokesman did not acknowledge that keeping peace at the monuments is a part of their job.
The problem is the city of New Orleans is cash strapped. The city cannot afford to maintain its infrastructure and cannot afford to hire enough first responders to keep the city safe. The city has scarce resources and has to be choosy in where to allocate them. Was removing monuments in order to help Mitch Landrieu’s legacy the best use of those dollars?
Given the violence in the city of New Orleans, those dollars and those cops could’ve been used elsewhere.