OUTRAGE: Newark Residents Hit With $187,000 Police OT Bill For Whitney Houston Funeral

Locals Say Considering How They Were Treated, The Cost Is Hardly Justified

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Whitney Houston’s funeral is costing the city of Newark tens of thousands of dollars in police overtime.

And some taxpayers say as much as they loved the pop star they’re not happy about footing the high security costs, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Houston’s family brought her back to Newark, where thousands of people lined the streets to get a glimpse of the hearse carrying her body. Fans even tried to get close to the church where her private funeral was held.

It was a farewell to a beloved star that touched the hearts of many, but it also cost the city of Newark more than $187,000 in police overtime, representing 5 percent of the $4 million budget for the year.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when you have people who are unemployed and homeless, people walking up and down the streets,” Newark resident Quincy Ruffin said.

Ruffin said Houston’s family should have paid for the officers.

“If they wanted it to go that far, do that much, they should have been the ones providing for it,” Ruffin said.

Others said what makes them more angry is the public wasn’t allowed anywhere near the funeral that attracted big stars.

“I think it was a waste of time and then now we find out what happened and how she actually died, it makes you think twice saying was it worth it or not,” resident Minerva DelValle said.

Nearly 200 police officers were stationed at the New Baptist Church, the funeral home and a family gathering at the Newark Club afterwards. One city official said that the overtime cost was necessary because of public safety.

“I was able to be witness to the thousands upon thousands of people who were desperate to attend service but held back by barriers and officers of the law,” said Democratic Councilwoman Mildred Crump. “If they had not been there someone may have been trampled, seriously hurt.”

In Westfield, where Houston was laid to rest, $9,000 in police overtime was spent, a necessary cost to make sure no one got hurt, officials said.

The Newark Police Department released the overtime figures to CBS 2. Mayor Cory Booker and the police director were unavailable for comment on Friday.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

  • Super16


  • Grapost

    There are security costs associated with every entertainment spectacle. Celebrity Funeral included.

    Seeing how cash strapped the city is, it would have been a nice gesture for the family to pay the overtime bill with some of the millions they inherited or will soon have from Whitney’s recording royalties.

    But Fat Chance, greed alawys wins out

    • Patricia Keys

      The city made money. That’s why cities are always trying to have events that draw crowds. People spent money in hotels, restaurants, shops, taxis, etc. resulting in city tax funds and extra employment. If the city did not know how to capitalize on this event blame your elected officials. In reality, the city of Newark should have paid the Houston family.

  • Butch

    Tax payers do stupid stuff everyday and cost us money, by killing up one another. This woman gave enough, I’m surprised this is even an issue. But white folks always complain about anything done for other races. So go figure LOL! R.I.P. Whitney Houston…

    • Tommy

      I dont think it is white folks complaining, it is Newark residents (few of whom are white folks) who are complaining.

  • MC Grunt

    Didn’t they say she was buried with $250.000 worth of jewelry on? A $10.00 shovel can solve all this.

    • iratenate

      but, unless you pick up your labor in front of the Home Depot, union wages could really set you back.

  • josetoyou

    Now, I guesss the “fans” don’t think she was worth it…I never did!
    Very few celebrities are wotth the attention that they get or the moiney they make.

  • billcrawford

    “OUTRAGE: Newark Residents Hit With $187,000 Police OT Bill For Whitney Houston Funeral.”

    Houston didn’t give a damn about you people when she was alive as long as you came to her concerts and bought her music and it is obvious she and her family do not give a tinkers damn about any of your upon her death or pre arrangements and insurance would have been taken out previously like responsible people do to take care of cover this. Very typical of those whom only think of themselves.

    • polly joe

      Send the bill to her estate

    • CM

      That’s the Police fault. Who the hell need 200 police…..They saw a time to get everyone paid and they did…DUMB DUMB DUMB

      • TP

        Typical Union soiking. They rush at the chance while they sit on their asses in cars. Shame on them, police unions are as corrupt as any get.

    • cliff

      Society idolizes these drug addicts. So,pay up and bury your idol.. Who’s next?

      • rebob

        Amen brother.

  • Dave

    Just dig up her rotting corpse and pawn all the jewelry she was buried with. I’m sure that would cover the bill.

    • David from San Diego

      Awesome idea!

    • Don

      Better yet, they could search her home for her hidden cocaine stash and sell that for $187,000.

      • dot

        Kiss her dead ass my she rip.

    • Devon

      Dave, how dare you!!! That is a cruel statement to make! Everyone has their struggles! I’m sure you have family members who have struggled or are still struggling with drugs. We don’t know what he family is going to do regarding the overtime cost. However, disrespecting the dead is not acceptable and won’t make the situation better!

      • BOSFOB

        boo hoo, get real her family should pay these costs

      • jason

        devon it is always funny how minority’s will stick up for each other even when you know she was a piece of trash. do you talk about this during your meetings. lol

      • Shawn

        Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead”

      • Sally

        …but the city I live will not be paying for the funeral of those I know who lost their struggle.

    • bill.1942

      It was all fake

    • leslie

      Ha, ha I was just thinking the same thing.

    • Gern


  • Tapper

    The closest City of Newark budget item that can be used for this would be this winter’s underused “Snow Removal Budget”.

    • Sig

      Snow disposal would be more accurate.

    • Junior

      I am sure that was already spent.

  • iambicpentamaster

    Some invoice, just to inter a drug addict…

    • http://escapeandrun.wordpress.com escapeandrun

      My question is… how much do these cops get paid? 200 officers making 187000 dollars for how much work? If all of them wokred 20 hours straight thats 50 dollars an hour each. Maybe Newark pays their cops entirely too much.

      • http://ny9solyndra.wordpress.com NY9Solyndra

        Overtime is usually 150% or 200% of regular pay, depending on a variety of factors.

        The median officer pay in Newark is $28/hr. http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/police-officer-Salary-Details-Newark-NJ.aspx

        Also consider that net pay is only a portion of the cots per hour. You have to add on benefits, payroll taxes, etc.. Add costs for vehicles, fuel, etc..

      • http://ny9solyndra.wordpress.com NY9Solyndra

        Overtime is usually 150% or 200% of regular pay, depending on a variety of factors.

        The median officer pay in Newark is $28/hr. http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/police-officer-Salary-Details-Newark-NJ.aspx

        Also consider that net pay is only a portion of the cost per hour. You have to add on benefits, payroll taxes, etc.. Add costs for vehicles, fuel, etc..

    • Tim Martin

      If her family had any decency they would pay these costs. Don’t hold your breath on that. This is a perfect example of just how far our country has fallen. Thousands line up to see a drug user laid to rest. How many of these same people came out to attend services for any Newark soldiers killed in the wars? How sad. As for the councilwoman who said people would be trampled if 200 police weren’t there . . . well . . . that says a lot about her constituents doesn’t it.

      • V

        Well stated. Even the frivolous costs are passed down to the taxpayers. Yes, I said frivolous. This was for the family primarily.

        • Deb

          The “cops” are not responsible for being told to work that event, and it WAS more of an event than a funeral. I agree with Tim. Our society reveres drug abusers and ignores heros.

  • nopcspokenhere

    Get it from obama’s ‘stash’!!!!

    • dot

      Get it from your moma;s stash’

    • DEE

      I wondered how long it would be before someone pulled Obama ‘s name out their ass . . .

      • another mike

        Well, I guess it was Bush’s fault…huh?

        • rozrosebud

          Obama had nothing to do with this, assholes.

          • dana

            the only asshole is obama

            • jerzfresh

              this may have little to do with him, but 99% of Newarkers voted for Obama. they get what they deserve.

              • rozrosebud

                How do you know

          • Slconfidential

            I heard O dumbo say if he had another daughter, she would be like Witty, so he better start paying this bill.

            • rozrosebud

              You are

  • renrah

    The “public” – NO

    That’s who gets stuck with EVERY bill and pays up on all wasted spending in this
    effed up country anymore. I would bet more than 75% of those “mourners” won’t pay a dime because they all on welfare and neverpaid taxes in their lives.

    • JoeRaisin

      Wrong idiomatic expression. I’m sure you meant to say “Foot” the bill. Foot the bill means to pay for something. Fit the bill means something meets certain requirements. Also, while I like the imagine brought about by bureaucratic hypocrisy “roaring” its ugly head, The actual word used in this expression is “rearing”.

      • pitter43

        They’ve got nothing else to say so they act like all the comments are supposed to be about someones grammar. It’s typical liberal , attempt, to debase someone.

        • oberon123456

          And anybody ignorant enough to not comprehend basic English grammar undoubtedly has equally cloudy thought processes. In other words, that person is not worth listening to.

          • Izbot

            This thread is unraveling at an unrivaled rate.Please, don’t sweat the small potatoes and don’t make mountains out of molars by the skin on your teeth.
            Why can’t we all just get a lawn?

            • rozrosebud

              I Actually had a gut renching laugh, ty

              • Izbot

                Having more fun than a barrel of monkey wrenches thrown into your gut was not my intent.
                But what’s sauce for the goose is worth a gander.
                And looking before you leap from the frying pan into the fire is always better than having the pot call the kettle anything but late for dinner.

      • Georgiasaraann

        Your first sentance “Wrong idiomatic expression.” is grammatically incorrect. You have two adjectives and a noun, but no verb. “Foot” the bill should not have been capitalized. You meant to say image, not imagine in the fifth sentance. You should not have capitalized ‘the’ after the comma. See how annoying this is? I am sure someone else will scrutinize my post and point out my errors. Mark had a good point. Focus on what he posted, rather than minor errors. And I did like hypocrisy roaring its ugly head. You are correct, it is a fun image..

        • Dr. Reality

          Georgiasaraann, aren’t you just jumping on the bandwagon to get your own grammar cop kicks in the guise of lecturing someone else for doing it? By the way, I’m not going to bother to correct the errors in your post!

      • Kingfish

        Looks like the grammar cops got up early this morning. I bet you are one of the overpaid federal employees, do you feel better, will you be able to make it through the day, we thank you for your due diligence and astute editing, in other words, who gives a crap.

        • JoeRaisin

          LOL – Looks like the “grammar cops” cops made it here too – though I’m not sure where 10 am is considered “early”. By the way, wrong and wrong. I am not a Federal employee and there was nothing wrong with the grammar. I suppose, to be accurate, you could have called me an idiomatic expression cop. I hope your inaccurate accusation has made you feel better and that you too were able to make it through the day.

  • ME that's Who

    you know what though they should go after the person who sold her the coke don’t tell me they don’t know who it was. It was her body guards of course.

  • Jesse

    $187,000? I’ll bet Whitney Houston snorted that much coke in an average year.

    • Real Rick

      Nah, that’s 3 wild parties, so, I’m guessing a long weekend.

  • Willy Nailher

    Oh well, dead and gone. Newark, pay up.

    • george

      If I owed that much money for anything, I’d lower the flags to half-staff too/

  • ME that's Who

    we must consider that the funeral was not a PUBLIC EVENT it was private therefor the Houston Estate should be charged for their use of Public utilities and services to keep their private event private.

    Send them the Bill.

  • ME that's Who

    by all means the Houston Estate should be sent the bill for the extra security they incurred upon the city of Newark. Not all the people lining the streets were from NJ.

    Sent the the Bill ASAP! don’t let anyone get away with needing the city to do special duty and not pay for it. It was not just a public safety issue it was also a privacy issue. So let them pay for 60% if not all of it.

  • Col. Knife

    With that much cash you have saved her from those drugs.

  • ME

    Now you know people if Chris Christie did NOT lower the flags & she died of natural causes, then the justus brothers would have screamed bloody murder about rascism…

  • Deskboy

    Send her mother the bill.

    • george

      Her mother is busy trying to keep the two Whitney Houston offspring from tying the knot (figuratively speaking, of course).

    • Les in Phoenix

      no other way to see this…why should the taxpayers be stuck with this bill?
      as the article noted, when the ‘public’ wasn’t even allowed, to attend the funeral!
      I mean, really….

      • ME that's Who

        that is what I meant too. If it is a private event and the public is not invited then the use of public services are not free.

        The Police are afraid to send the bill to the Houston Estate which will still make millions off her songs and this new album coming out.


        the racist community of Marion White will scream racism

  • 2012

    judging from the demographics, i’d say there probably aren’t many taxpayers in Newark anyway but plenty of people getting “assistance”.

  • oink if you love whitney

    Some are more equal than others.

  • Fred P.

    …. and what about the Soldiers who died for their country? Not one peep and no outrage over the miniscule bit of recognition…..

    This country has it ALL WRONG when they “admire” a crackhead…..

    • carol

      Whitney died so that you may live and rejoice. You should be proud of newarks angel.

      • Lefty

        You mean Jesus, right? Not Whitney. You just mistyped it, right? Wow! What did Whitney ever do that helps me live and rejoice? I really hope this was posted as a joke.

      • Kevin Stowell


      • Montavious Jackson

        She was a cokehead. Not a savior.

        • Obsqueeshakanisha

          Don’ playa hate…

  • James Woods

    Yeah it’s something to consider since the public wasn’t able to participate in what the public was paying for however im sure the good people of newark can find alot more was in pork barrel projects than this funeral.

  • jens

    and if the cops were not there….and the typical masses got out of hand…..people would be screaming that there wasn’t enough police…and blame the city, etc….

  • makemydaypunk

    Send the “bill” to Chris Christie’s personal account – or alternatively send it to the “heirs” of her estate!!! The NJ Tax Payer should NOT be responsible for her private funeral!! Case closed!!

  • Royce

    Whoever gave the order needs to lose their job for donating the huge and unnecessary police presence for the Whitney Houston funeral. They also deserve to be fired for providing a high profile drug addict honors usually reserved for an officer or official in appreciation for their sacrifice and public service. 3 or 4 officers to monitor the crowd and provide traffic control is the maximum that should have been provided at taxpayer expense, For anything additional it would be the responsibility of the family or funeral director to hire security guards or off duty police officers. In the eyes of the rest of the law enforcement community throughout the nation, the Newark Police Dept looked foolish and unprofessional for providing a Police Honor Guard to an infamous celebrity who spent most of her adult life committing felony drug offenses on a daily basis.

    • Corona

      And John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI should be compensated by Whitneys’ estate for the 10 days they were suspended from airing their show.

      • wingside

        And I second that thought……….those two just aren’t the same.

  • jessix1

    This is part of the city budget. It is already taken into account and paid for. Maybe there will be no more events and the city will come in UNDER BUDGET at the end of the year.

    • ronnnn

      maybe…. maybe .. using maybe is a great argument isn’t it ??? LOL maybe

  • Guglielmo Boogliodemus

    Well, if they had done anything to try to keep it from becoming a Michael Jackson repeat, they would have had a riot. Family, Jesse, All and the gang would have been chimpin out and calling for white blood for disrespectin da Whitney. Oprah already got all chimpy wit her daughter. Ratings ho. Next will be the memorabilia auction. Then the movie deal. Probably a book deal too.

  • just my opinion

    Everybody on this board who tries to blame the police, city, or governor should be ashamed of their selves. This event required a police presence because of the over whelming amount of people who wanted to be part of the action. By all means, maybe a law should be written requiring the church who hosted the event to be required to hire/provide security but don’t blame the city for doing their job. This is what taxes are for and need to be paid by all residents and businesses of that jurisdiction.

    • Crackhead

      I jist be wantin all dat coke an crack dey finded in her rooms. True Dat!

  • Rod Anders

    They could have charged for tickets … equal to the amount of overtime.

    • YosemiteSam

      The cops should pull money out of the drug-evidence locker to pay for it (if there’s any left)

  • HaHaHaHa

    The taxpayers should demand a refund,better yet,they should sue whitney’s estate.

  • Jaysiah24

    I don’t think it’s fair to the residents of Newark to have to foot thie bill, beings we couldn’t get close or even attende the funeral, also the person or persons who took that illegal photo should have to foot the bill, they were the only one(s) who benefitted from all this S**T!!!

  • Crackhead

    Chris Christie flew the states flags at half staff for the addled drug addict as well. Celebrating a rich almost crack ho is so ghetto.

    • Guglielmo Boogliodemus

      So true… After reading the autopsy report, it appears she was nappy headed also.

  • Renee Forjustice

    The cost is a bit much, this you blame on the leadership there really wasn’t a need for as many officers that attended. Many where there to get up an closes to the rich and famous and would have been there on regular time if asked, the leadership seen a way to help officer make the money an took advantage.@stonedome their status as union workers, those same union workers are the ones you call in time of needed, and then what there paid doesn’t matter. The family and other had their own security. This should not be passed off on tax payers, just no more overtime for 6 months and the budget will balance.

  • Denmoy

    Aren’t the residents of Newark used to bending over ?

  • Benny

    Why did Newark volunteer to be their own private security detail to begin with? If they wanted security they should have paid for it themselves. Is she the Newark crack national hero?

  • ernest

    Her dealer should have footed the bill. He made millions off of her.

    • every amerikan a hero

      > Here we go again. Whitney and every gringo is an Amerikan hero, if you understand the Constitution. And while she didn’t earn a folded flag, she and every gringo deserves the lowered-flag tribute. Bang. Pay up “patriotic” New Joyzeyites.

  • stonedome

    she famous, bud i doan wans ta pay fo dat….

  • overtime

    $187,000 for “nearly 200” police officers = $935 per officer. Was this a one day event or over several days?

    • stonedome

      they make $60 an hour, so double it. surprised? public employee unions are laughing at taxpayers

  • Secret

    I can not believe this. People could not attend the funeral yet they want to take the tax payers money.. The funeral was private so why is the family not paying for their private funeral. We love Whitney and it is ashame we could not attend her funeral.

  • Mr. Workman

    What’s the big deal. She was a war hero or something after all .
    Service and sacrifice for her country…right !

    Because the flags were at half staff that day. So I assume !

  • Mark Matis

    What else would one expect New Jersey to do for JAN?

    • Mark Matis

      And then people have the gall to say that Governor Christie is a great leader. Sheesh!

      • Dan Carter

        What the hell did Chris Christie have to do with this you clueless moron?

        • Mark Matis

          Possible double post, but it looks like CBS New York buried my first response:

          How about lowering the flags for this fine representative of New Jersey, and sticking the Mere Citizens with this bill? But then he IS Chris Christie, and therefor can do no wrong. Just like Giuliani…

      • Bill E Bob

        If he had a daughter, she’d look like Whitney.

  • TG

    Let’s be honest, Newark doesn’t cover thier own bills to begin with, it is the rest of NJ tax payers that are going to foot this bill!

  • San Diego Steve

    If ten cents was paid by the taxpayers concerning this drug-soaked, obnoxious has-been, it would be too much. Why should the public pay for a celebrity media event? The public officials who approved these expenditures should be fired.

  • mmercier

    Newark is a sewer. The more crape they can squeeze out of the residents, the better.

    Can’t carry enough bullets to pass through that hole.

  • Larry

    An appropriate and expected farewell gift to Newark from a no good coke addict. I guess they will take it from the school district.

  • Maureen

    The Newark residents are not alone in their outrage. My family is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. Since she has been buried there police/security personnel are posted at the front gate ( as of two weeks ago it is now a private security van). Visitors are stopped and quesstioned as to the purposee of their visit. The back gate (near the “celebrity grave”) is closed and security personnel block at least one road. Westfield residents and those who chose Fairview because of its peaceful setting are being victimized, inconvenienced and forced to pay a woman’s rightful debt. If her family wanted her insulated from those who made her rich, they should have had her cremated and kept her ashes. Their need for privacy does not obliterate others’ need for peace.

  • ImaHippyBurning

    This is utter nonsense. I don’t care if it was freakin Frank Sinatra’s funeral the taxpayers should not have to foot the bill on this! Absolute Bullcrap! Yes, she was a talent, but also a drug addict so now any and all screwed up actors, athletes, rock stars who have to have big funerals are going to hold taxpayers accountable for their security at funerals. To hell with that! stick them in a pine box and drop them in the ladfill for all I care!

  • Ya Ya

    Crazy. Nothing but a crackhead with a mechanical voice who wrote not a note of music and simply did what she was told in the studio. No better than Britney Spears.

  • susan

    i dont live up there but i can definitely see why taxpayers would be upset..i do berlieve ms houstons family could have paid for security themselves..do other citiznes get the same courtesy? i doubt it..that in addition to the flags at half mast for her is sure to cause a controversy now that people realize she was a cocaine addict and had many other addictions..very sad…

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