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Hells Angels patrol racked up $185,000 of overtime in Carlton

CARLTON -- With Duluth police paying more than $75,000 in overtime, the total tab for increased law enforcement during the Hells Angels gathering three weeks ago in Carlton was at least $185,000.

And that total doesn't include Wisconsin law enforcement agencies. Duluth police and other Minnesota agencies involved said the cost would be covered by a variety of law enforcement grants.

Duluth police had 12 officers working regular patrol shifts with 10 other officers available to respond to any Hells Angels calls while walking through bars and providing additional traffic enforcement.

"I think it's important for us to note that these officers were engaged in police work the entire time,'' said Mike Tusken, deputy police chief of patrol. "There was no sitting and waiting for the Hells Angels to come."

Tusken said there was extra traffic enforcement in areas where police commonly get speeding complaints.

"There was a tremendous police presence during that weekend and as a result we saw reduced crime," he said.

Some members of the public have said the police presence was heavy-handed and unwarranted.

Tusken and John Beyer, deputy chief for investigations, admitted that it turned out there wasn't much of a Hells Angels presence in the city.

"Our primary focus was to make sure that we could ensure public safety. So in the end, we would rather be criticized for being over-prepared than be criticized for being under-prepared,'' Beyer said.

He said the $75,738.28 in Duluth police overtime costs will be covered by three state and federal grants that make money available for extra patrol, security operations and drug enforcement.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office reported that it spent $36,124.09 in overtime during the Hells Angels rally. The Minnesota State Patrol said it spent $11,122 in the same effort.

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake reported that overtime costs for her department amounted to about $38,000, all of which she said was covered through grants secured by the department.

Other costs were: Cloquet Police Department, $21,000 to $25,000, Proctor Police Department, $2,000; Hermantown Police Department, $1,058.