Kansas City Council members announced this week being pleased with the police response that kept peace at a National Socialist Movement rally earlier this month.
But the protection didn’t come cheap. Police spent more than $36,500 on overtime — about $1,000 per neo-Nazi.
And that doesn’t count regular pay for officers working their usual shifts.
Movement officials had threatened to bring 1,000 members from various groups — skinheads, Aryan Nations — to Kansas City for a national conference and rally to “stand against illegal immigration and rise against the downfall of the American economy.”
Only about three dozen participated in the event in front of the Jackson County Courthouse. Hundreds of rally opponents showed up.
Police searched everyone entering the protest zone. No knives, strollers, protest sign sticks or anything that could become a projectile were allowed.
Police logged more than 734 hours of overtime Nov. 9, the day of the rally, and about 47 hours of overtime the day before and after.
The costs didn’t surprise City Councilman John Sharp, chair of the council’s public safety committee, because he knew the police presence needed to be significant.
He said the neo-Nazi group “specializes in theatrical and provocative protests” that have resulted in injuries and property damage in other cities. He said he was relieved that no such violence occurred in Kansas City.
“I thought the police performance was excellent,” he said.
The neo-Nazis did not have to pay any fees to stage the protest because it was held on public sidewalks, said city spokesman Chris Hernandez.