Photo: Sandra Rose/

A loyal reader who happens to work in law enforcement emailed me to clear up a statement I made regarding taxpayers paying for police to escort celebrities.

    Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2008 12:12:34
    From: [Name removed per request]
    Subject: In reference to AG Ent. vs. So So Def post


    Just a slight correction to something you stated in the post about Freddy O not taking photos of Beyonce. You made the comment that the tax payers dollars go to escorting celebrities. This is NOT true. The officers that escort these celebrities are paid directly by those celebs or their managers. Speaking as someone who works in law enforcement, these officers are also off duty officers.

    Those officers sometimes charge $40-$50 an hour for the services they provide. Escorts are considered “part time” jobs or “special details”. Just like the cops who escort funeral processions, the bikes are often times their own bikes that they have purchased. When there are city and county vehicles being used it is because some departments require their officers to utilize those marked and well known vehicles for safety purposes. Those vehicles are equipped with the necessities of their job and if something occurs, they will have those necessities at hand (i.e. lights & sirens, an additional radio to reach dispatch, etc).

    When it comes to taxpayers, keep in mind that we in law enforcement pay taxes, too. Sometimes that excuse is utilized too much. Besides, if we didn’t provide protection for people in the limelight, we’d be criticized for that too if they are injured. Its a double-edged sword.There is a great example of why marked units are necessary. Remember the two officers who lost their life in Dekalb County on Jan. 16th of this year (Barker & Bryant)? Those officers were not in marked units. We don’t know if that would have made a difference, but it is very possible that it may have. I just wanted to give you some insight into the other side of why law enforcement does some of the things they do. The public only sees one side and things are not always what they seem.