Sheriff’s price tag for Jackson case: $3M-plus

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[b]Sheriff’s price tag for Jackson case: $3M-plus[/b] By Quintin Cushner/Senior Staff Writer The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spent more than $3 million investigating Michael Jackson on child-molestation charges and providing security for his trial. Costs of investigating the high-profile trial through Jackson’s June 13 acquittal totaled $1,327,946, sheriff’s Sgt. Erik Raney said Friday. The bulk of that money was spent on personnel, including $1,151,358 for staff salaries, $96,997 for overtime and $26,546 to pay retired and part-time employees who worked on the case, Raney said. Travel expenses were $17,280, while miscellaneous costs added another $35,762 to the tab, he said. The department spent $569,432 on the Jackson investigation during the 2003-04 fiscal year, and another $758,513 for the 2004-05 period, Raney said. The fiscal year ends June 30, he said, adding that the figures could change slightly between now and then. Costs of policing the Santa Maria Court Complex during the Jackson trial were $1,753,402, Raney said. The county paid $1,262,774 in salaries, $347,306 for overtime and $117,827 to part-time and retired deputies, he said. The tab for feeding deputies at the complex amounted to $22,868, while incidentals added another $2,624, Raney said. Sheriff’s employees working large-scale cases are required to code their time cards, identifying how many hours each week they spend on a specific investigation, Raney said. This allows the department to track and later tally how much money is spent on a specific case. “We do that for bigger cases like homicides and major thefts,” Raney said. “Anything requiring above what a normal case would take of an investigator’s time.” Raney said the department spent more money on probing Jackson than on a routine case, but totals did not exceed what might be spent on other large-scale investigations. “I would hazard a guess that some of our longer homicide investigations have cost more money,” he said. “The main difference was how much it cost for security of the celebrity defendant.” The total budget of the Sheriff’s Department for the 2004-05 year is $84.7 million, Raney said. The Sheriff’s Department’s security tab was offset somewhat by $146,331 contributed by a coalition of media organizations, said Jason Stilwell, project manager in the county’s executive office. There are plans to request additional funds from the state to help defray costs of securing the court complex, Stilwell said. Santa Barbara County’s General Services Department tallied an additional $161,790 for fence-building, groundskeeping and sanitation work on the court complex grounds during the trial, Stilwell said. Those numbers do not run through the day of Jackson’s acquittal, he said. So far, $67,064 of General Services expenses have been reimbursed by the media, he said. Cost of prosecuting the Jackson case were not available on Friday from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office. Quintin Cushner can be reached at 739-2217 or June 25, 2005 Source:

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