Campus administration collaborated with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, or ACSO, in anticipation of protests surrounding the Ann Coulter event April 27, which ran up to $500,000 in overtime costs, as first reported by KCBS.
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogoluf said overtime costs for deputies from UCPD amounted to $35,000 in addition to another $125,000 to bring in deputies from six other UC campuses. ACSO spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly said the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deployed 80 of the 400 officers, which amounted to about $80,000. Additional costs came from the remaining 320 officers.
“When people hear about (the total cost), they get sticker shock,” Kelly said. “They have to remember that Cal, last week, was an active campus … there were definitely public safety concerns.”
Mogoluf said in addition to the ACSO, UCPD worked with the Oakland Police Department, Berkeley Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the San Leandro Police Department.
UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said in an email that UCPD is currently in contact with the sheriff’s office in order to determine “an appropriate level” of reimbursement for their contracted police forces.
According to Mogoluf, the strategy was in response to “very specific and significant” intelligence that the UCPD received about alleged security threats. The reported figure of half a million dollars, he said, is an estimate and the administration presently does not have a full account of the costs. He added that administration hopes to receive a full accounting of the costs in the coming day or sometime next week.
The deployment was a preplanned strategy among both groups to ensure the safety of students and community members, according to Kelly.
Caiden Nason, president of the Cal Berkeley Democrats, said he believed the threat of violence arose due to “an environment fabricated by the Berkeley College Republicans.”
“There was no threat of violence from outside groups … until BCR made it more of a media event,” said Nason. “I’m not saying that they should pay for it, but they should acknowledge that they were the cause of that expense.”
Pranav Jandhyala, founder of BridgeUSA, one of the groups that invited Coulter to campus, said although he commends law enforcement for protecting the campus community, he thinks the task force present Thursday was “overboard.” He added that he believed they were acting on “bad intelligence.”
Kelly deemed the lack of conflict Thursday as a sign of success and said law enforcement presence deters violence by de-escalating tensions.
“You can’t really put a price on public protection, especially in Berkeley which now is a battleground for … extremist groups from the left and right wanting to fight each other,” Kelly said.