BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – The Honolulu Police Department spent $228,247 on overtime pay during President Barack Obama’s most recent nearly two week visit to Oahu over the Christmas and New Years holiday. That figure was just released to Hawaii Reporter by the Honolulu Police Department after repeated FOIA requests since January 2011.
The city also paid $10,000 for the medics’ overtime to escort the President on his outings with his family and his friends on outings around Oahu.
This is the third year that Oahu taxpayers have covered the HPD escort services for Obama’s vacation.
In 2009, his police security cost taxpayers $250,000, and in 2008, when Obama was president elect, $107,000 was charged to the city taxpayers.
The nearly $600,000 over three years is not reimbursed by the federal government, despite the city’s attempt to recoup the funding.
The $600,000, however, pales in comparison to the federal costs to taxpayers for the President’s vacations to the islands, which Hawaii Reporter research shows is about $2 million per trip.
That includes travel aboard Air Force One, transport of vehicles and the President’s helicopter via C-17 flights, beachfront and canal front rental homes near the President for Secret Service, Coast Guard and Navy Seals, hotel and car rentals and fuel costs for staff, rental offices for Secret Serve, security upgrades and additional phone lines to private homes where Obama and friends are staying, surveillance before the President arrives, and travel costs for Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President.
Hawaii Reporter has requested details on the cost of the President’s trip, but the White House will not release any figures, citing security concerns. A spokesperson maintains the costs are in line with other presidential vacations.
Hawaii Reporter has sought to determine the cost of vacations for President Obama and last two presidents, but it has not received any reply from repeated calls and emails to the U.S. General Services Administration, the agency that tracks these costs.
When then Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island of Hawaii over the last two holiday seasons, Hawaii county taxpayers covered the cost of her police escorts, but they were considerably less than the President’s at $21,000 in 2009 and $13,000 in 2010.