Following The Money – in General

Recently, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and Morton County Sheriff’s Department released a document explaining “Resources and costs diverted from normal operations” due to protest. In part, it shows:

Days of Response Support 210
Hours of Response Support 331,721

State and Local Cost to Taxpayers (as of March 6, 2017) $38.2M

Personnel (Salaries, EMAC) $30M
Personnel Support (Travel and per diem, lodging) $4.1M
Equipment/Supplies (Cold weather gear, radios, gas) $4.1M

In State Agencies Providing Support 106
Other States Providing Support 10
Out of State Agencies Providing Support 34
Number of Arrests 761
Number of Protesters Arrested 709
Percent of Arrestees from Out of State 94%
Percent of Arrestees from North Dakota 6%

Let’s take a look at some of these numbers. In general. I know that this is super complex but I am trying to get the basics down. It can be hard to wrap your head around 38M and 761 arrests. In general.

Officials said 221 of those apprehended had prior criminal records. That is less than the national average. On average, 1 in 3 Americans have been arrested. America now houses roughly the same number people with criminal records as it does four-year college graduates. Also, national numbers show that for every arrest, 57% have been arrested prior. That means the 221 would be 447 anywhere else in the country. Evidence of a “Peaceful Group” in general.

About the money. How are these costs justified with the end results? 761 arrested. So if my math is correct, I could do the following:

Arrest a person. Provide them a limousine ride to the Holiday Inn. Put them up for 3 days while we record the arrest, file a “Treaty Stand” motion and issue the “citation” that you issued. We also give them $200 for food for those 3 days and $500 travel money to get them home. Total – $1000 per arrest. It costs tax payers $49,934.30 per arrest and used cages? (38M / 761 arrests) – Our way, w/hotel is under 1M, compared to 38M – Just Saying, in general.

Then, you say “what about the protection” that was provided. Well, you sure had some things protected, we agree. Again, let’s look at your numbers. 331,721 “Hours of Response Support” and the “personnel” salary of 30M – That is $90.44 per hour in personnel. Another 8.2M in gas money, cold weather gear, lodging, etc. So if you were one of those officers out there, standing in the cold weather, did you get $90 an hour? If my math is correct, that’s what “the people” are paying, in general. (Everyone agrees, that job must have SUCKED by the way – prayers)

Not included in any of this is the “cleanup” of the camps. It took 3 days to remove it from existence but your last oil spill is in year 3 of cleanup and not done. Tons of usable items were discarded from the camps that the community needs badly. A private business could have made hundreds of thousands of dollars from the structures and gear that was trashed. Instead, the state bills tax payers millions. Just Saying, in general.

And let’s face it. This is complex. In the real world, some of this is business as usual and not isolated to North Dakota. There is a fine line of freedom and safety. There needs to be a “resized line” of the best spending to get it.

Now that I am done ranting, As far as the 38M  – If the state is going to make the 110M monthly on that oil, run the first 10 days free, for the taxpaying people. Covers it all,  Just Saying, in general.

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