Special Report: Records reveal cost, overtime for LR mayor’s security detail

Special Reports

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request detail how much money has been spent on a security detail for Little Rock mayor Frank Scott Jr.

The security detail, which began in April 2019, is provided by the Little Rock Police Department. KARK has learned the security detail was recommended by administration at the LRPD and later recommended by the eventually newly hired chief, Keith Humphrey.

Mayor Scott’s security detail consists of seven officers who rotate, and it’s unclear at what times they are used.

Between April 2019 through January 2020, the seven officers have combined to earn a total of $326,452. 95. This cost is made up of regular wages and overtime wages.

Of the $326,452.95 that was paid out for the officers on the security detail, $304,655.29 is what was paid out in regular wages, and $21,797.66 is what was paid out in overtime. Among the seven officers, nearly 550 overtime hours have been logged for mayor security detail duty, according to time sheets KARK obtained from the LRPD.

The most overtime logged in one day was 32 hours when two different officers each logged 16 OT hours on Jan. 2, 2020, according to LRPD timesheets that KARK obtained.

Those numbers are pretty interesting when you showed them to me,” Ken Richardson, city director for Ward 2 said after reviewing the numbers.
“I didn’t expect them to be that high.”

Richardson said the totals might warrant a discussion related to the city’s budget but defers to safety recommendations from police adminstration.

“If they make those recommendations, then I think that they’re warranted.”

The seven officers have spent various days on security detail duty but did not log any time during the month of December, according to timesheets KARK obtained.

During the time the security detail has been in place, police records indicate that one threat has been filed. It came in the form of a threatening letter that Mayor Scott received in the mail at city hall last July from an unknown sender with no return address. The case has since been closed with no arrests and no leads, according to the LRPD.

We reached out to cities in other states with similar population sizes to Little Rock to see if their mayors used a security detail. Officials in Montgomery, Alabama and Shreveport, Louisiana both confirmed that their mayors uses a security detail.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, a city almost double the population size of Little Rock confirms that their mayor does not use a security detail.

We originally wanted to ask Mayor Scott about the security detail last week. His office didn’t get back to us until this week.

We sent him questions early on Tuesday morning but we never got response. So, we showed up to Tuesday night’s board agenda meeting where we asked him about it there.

He responded:

“We clearly knew the amount that would be spent when we operated and made that decision based on the threats — that was definitely discussed, and so it’s a part of the operation. It you would actually do any research with other cities that have security details, our cost is quite low.”

The only city that we spoke to that could provide cost figures to us was Montgomery, Alabama. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office there told me their mayor’s security detail consists of one officer working on a salary of about $57,000 a year.

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