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baltimoresun.com

Police spent $3,900 to accompany Rawlings-Blake on recent trips

By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

6:28 AM EST, February 1, 2012

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Baltimore police officers assigned to protect Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake racked up about $3,900 in expenses while accompanying the mayor on three business recent trips, according to the city spending board's agenda.

The five-member Board of Estimates, of which Rawlings-Blake is a member, is slated to vote Wednesday on reimbursing the officers' expenses.

A Rawlings-Blake spokesman declined to explain the need for police escorts to accompany the mayor to other cities, but pointed out that the custom was established by previous administrations.

"We don't comment on long-standing security procedures that have been in place under several administrations," spokesman Ryan O'Doherty said in an email.

Officer Kyle E. Gooden spent $1,200 on a rental car, hotel room and meals while protecting Rawlings-Blake during a three-day trip to Chicago in October.

Rawlings-Blake met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, First Lady Michelle Obama and others at a healthy food summit there, O'Doherty said.

From Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, Officer Warren B. Smith spent about $1,125 in Boston where the mayor attended a seminar for newly-elected mayors at Harvard University, according to the agenda and O'Doherty.

And from Dec. 7-12, Officer Derrick Mayfield spent about $1,600 in Aspen, Co., where Rawlings-Blake participated in an Aspen Institute seminar. She was awarded a Rodel fellowship by the leadership institute, and traveled to India and China with other fellows in 2010.