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Posted at 05:43 PM ET, 12/23/2009

Nickles comments on Fenty's security detail

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has no plans to refund the cost of his security detail while on personal business, but the mayor spends less on his protection than previous mayors did, Attorney General Peter Nickles told council leaders today.

Responding to a WTOP radio investigation that that found Fenty used police escorts on some of his bike rides, Nickles said "it has never been the practice of anyone serving as mayor of the District of Columbia to refund the cost of his or her security detail."

In the aftermath of bicycle story, council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) sent the administration a list of questions on how the mayor uses his security and how much the city spends on it. Nickles initially wrote Mendelson a letter Dec. 9 informing him that the administration would not be responding to the questions.

When Mendelson threatened to subpoena the information, Nickles told him last week a response would be forthcoming. In his letter, released Tuesday, Nickles argues that it's imperative that Fenty be well-protected

"As the elected executive of the government of the nation's capital, the Mayor of the District of Columbia is an attractive target for threats and possible violence," Nickles wrote. "For his personal safety, as well as the interests of the city and nation, it is important to provide adequate function."

Nickles refused to provide a written response to several of Mendelson's questions, citing security concerns. But Nickles said Fenty -- who is often seen driving around town in his own car -- "makes the decision, in consultation with the Metropolitan Police Department, whether a security detail is necessary and appropriate."

And just because Fenty may be alone in a vehicle, Nickles wrote, it should not be viewed as an indication that "the mayor isn't adequately protected at all times."

Still, the mayoral security detail has drastically shrunk since Fenty became mayor. In 2006, the mayoral detail consisted of 18 officers and supervisors. Today, there are just 10 police officers assigned to cover Fenty, Nickles said.

"The mayor's reduction in the numbers of officers in his detail was fiscally responsible and has resulted in an overall savings to District taxpayers," Nickles wrote.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  05:43 PM ET, 12/23/2009

Categories:  Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig

 
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