On February 18, some 200 men and women in uniform were assigned to patrol New Hope Baptist Church and a private gathering at the Newark Club. Unfortunately, the $187K bill represents 5% of the city's annual budget of $4M.
"I think it's absolutely ridiculous when you have people who are unemployed and homeless, people walking up and down the streets," said Newark resident Quincy Ruffin. He maintains that the Houston family should foot the bill, not taxpayers. "If they wanted to go that far, do that much, they should have been the ones providing for it."
Despite outraged residents, Democratic Councilwoman Mildred Crump says the security was necessary. "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," she said. "If they had not been there someone may have been trampled, seriously hurt."