Whitney Houston's funeral cost Newark $187,000 for police
Whitney Houston's funeral reportedly cost the singer's hometown $187,000 in police overtime, and some residents of Newark, N.J., are not pleased by the idea of taxpayers picking up the tab.
"I think it was a waste of time.... It makes you think twice saying was it worth it or not," resident Minerva DelValle told the local CBS News affiliate on Friday. Another resident said he thought the family should cover the bill.
Houston's funeral, though televised, was strictly invite-only. Newark Councilwoman Mildren Crump defended the police presence, telling WCBS that she witnessed thousands of people who were desperate to attend but were held back safely by law enforcement at barricades.
In contrast to the Newark situation, the estimated $150,000 to police Michael Jackson's private funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale in 2009 was covered by that pop star's estate up front. The overtime budget for Glendale's police department in fiscal 2009 was just under $2.8 million, with regular salaries around $35 million.
The estimated $1-million bill for Los Angeles Police Department overtime generated around the public Michael Jackson memorial service at Staples Center was the subject of a yearlong fight, however. Concert promoter AEG ultimately agreeing to pay $1 million to the city's general fund and $300,000 to the Los Angeles Police Foundation for equipment.
About 17,500 fans were able to secure free tickets to the memorial, which was also televised worldwide. In Newark, no fans were able to attend the service.
The overall budget for the LAPD in fiscal 2009 was just under $1.2 billion, with about $700 million going to the patrol and traffic control departments.
Newark's police overtime budget in fiscal 2011 is $4 million, on top of a total regular-salary budget of around $113 million — though the overall number does include $2.2 million for crossing guards.
Houston died in Beverly Hills on Feb. 11, the night before the 2012 Grammy Awards. It was revealed last week that was found face down in her hotel bathroom after accidentally drowning, with cocaine use and a heart condition contributing to her death.
Photo: Police keep spectators three blocks from the Whitney Houston funeral in Newark, N.J., on Feb. 18, 2012. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press.