On Tuesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police released an itemized list of how they spent nearly $50 million to secure the Democratic National Convention.
The list included a lot of things we expected -- $2.7 million for a video management system, $1.9 million for ballistic helmets and chest protectors, $1.54 million for housing. But as I perused the list, I kept being drawn to the (mostly) small-ticket items that seemed like quirky purchases for an event that had been designated as a potential National Security threat.
The horse manure removal was one of those things. Police paid $450 to a Rock Hill-based company called Scoop D Doo Inc. to remove horse droppings (From Scoop D Doo's website: "We've seen our customers' back yards turn from a smelly dog poo land to a thriving lush green haven in a matter of weeks.") The DNC's temporary horse paddock was set up in First Ward, but a Department of Justice Report offered some criticism: "Event attendees found horses to be impressive looking, but this event did not lend to their need." Still, police paid $75 for farrier services (those are the people who put shoes on the horses) and $400 to pressure wash the garage after the horses were gone.
Among the other expenses:
- Police paid $9,999.82 for mass arrest tracking system software, although they never made a mass arrest.
- $949 went for something described only as chainsaw rentals
- $9,654 paid for shin guards for bicycle officers
- $17,000 purchased "aerial photography of event area."
- $103,545 went for a Porta-Jon for portable restrooms in the event area for use by officers
- $9,300 went to Impromteau Inc. for Lanyards for DNC credentials
- The department paid the Charlotte Neighborhood and Business services $1,680 to clean up graffiti.
- $1,049.70 went to Dick's Clothing & Sports for portable tents. (Were the tents for undercover officers who infiltrated the protesters' encampment at Marshall Park?)
And make what you will of what the department paid for food. Officers who patrolled the city or who worked undercover were given a per diem to eat wherever they could. The joint information center ate food from Queen City Catering and Waiter's Choice. But most officers got three meals at the R&R Center at Central Piedmont Community College.
A sampling of what they ate:
- $450.40 went to Chik-Fil-A, but only $69.26 went to Bojangles'. Arby's, the purveyor of roast beef sandwiches, received $31,878.39 for food.
- In the sandwich category, officers ate $49,018.68 worth of food from Jersey Mike's and spent $50,073.58 on food from Firehouse Subs. Another $82,262.63 went to Jasons' Deli.
- Compass Group (at Johnson & Wales University) received $22,358.40 for food, while Johnson C. Smith, where most officers stayed, received $202,761.50 to feed officers.
- Pepsi Cola received $95,686.50 to quench officers' thirst. The city paid $9,612.69 for ice.