The California Highway Patrol shelled out an additional $166,000 in overtime costs to monitor last month's rally and "Occupy" demonstration at the state Capitol to protest cuts to higher education, the department said today.
CHP deployed an additional 288 sworn personnel to the Capitol for the demonstration, bringing the total number of officers on scene to 367, the department said in response to a Bee inquiry. That presence included roughly 100 officers outfitted in riot gear stationed outside the building as the mostly peaceful protest continued into the evening.
Thousands of students, teachers and activists descended on the Capitol for the March 5 day of action, which was organized by Student Senate for California Community Colleges, California State Student Association and the University of California Student Association. Speakers at the rally blasted budget cuts to higher education and called for more funding for the state's public colleges and universities.
An attempt to "Occupy" the Capitol rotunda, promoted by a group called REFUND California, resulted in 70 people being cited and released for trespassing, California Highway Patrol Communications Director Fran Clader said. She said least eight other people were arrested throughout the day and evening.
Clader wrote in an email that "majority of our personnel" assigned to the event, including officers from outside the region, worked regular shifts to minimize costs. The $166,000 in overtime costs includes about $6,000 for mileage, Clader said.
The Bee's Jim Sanders contributed to this report. Editor's note: This post was updated at 3:46 p.m. with additional information on arrest counts from Clader.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anneliese Harlander, a UC-Santa Cruz student, is dragged out of the Capitol rotunda after she went limp as California Highway Patrol officers attempted to arrest her on March 5. The officers cleared the Capitol building of Occupy protesters and students, tallying more than 70 arrests for the day. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.