The Dallas Police Department has cut back on some of the additional protection that the department provided around the Preston Hollow home of former President George W. Bush.
In addition to the usual Secret Service protection, Dallas until last week had stationed one on-duty tactical officer per eight-hour shift on the street outside the president’s home. The estimated cost of that service was $300,000 for about a year, according to police officials who asked that they not be named.
“We just had to cut it,” said one police official, who agreed to speak on the condition on anonymity. “We’re about to layoff people.”
The city of Dallas has been struggling to deal with a $190 million budget deficit, and police officials said that the police department’s civilian workforce likely will be reduced by as many as 190 of the department’s 739 employees.
But Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, who declined to discuss specific changes said, “Our decision on how to deploy people around security issues like this is not dependent on the budget. They’re based on other factors.”
Police officials said that they had been already gradually reducing extra security provided for the former president even before the city’s fiscal crunch.
“From the time the president got here, we’ve been working with the Secret Service to determine what level of protection was appropriate,” said Kunkle. “We always knew we would change and adapt.”
The cuts to the president’s security detail were first reported by KTVT-TV on Tuesday.
When Bush first moved to Dallas, tactical officers accompanied him when he made official appearances. That service was ended sometime ago, police said.
Rob Caltabiano, a Secret Service spokesman in Dallas, said he could not comment on what, if any, changes had been made to security around the former president’s home. But he said that security needs are constantly reassessed and changes made as needed.
“We’re still working with the police department,” Caltabiano said. “Nothing has been negatively impacted. They have been excellent as to what we need. In 21 years, I’ve worked with a lot of police departments and Dallas has been one of the most cooperative.”
Police officials said that if the Secret Service, which is responsible for the president’s protection, needs their help, Dallas will still respond with additional police presence as needed.
“The president lives in north central,” said another police official. “North central officers have known the president’s location. Just because we’re not sitting at the corner doesn’t mean we’re not giving it some kind of periodic coverage. The intersection is not completely abandoned.”
In early January, police department officials had said that the tab to provide crowd and traffic control at the new Preston Hollow home of former President Bush could reach $1 million a year. The $1 million figure was based on the cost of providing at least two officers per 8-hour shift on a 24-hour basis for one year.