Obama Campaign Stiffs Vermont Police, Taxpayers

ANCHOR: President Obama raised three quarters of a million dollars on his trip to Vermont. But police say his campaign isn't paying its bills. Susie Steimle explains why South Burlington and Burlington Police say the president owes them more than $3,000.

REPORTER:It was all pomp and circumstance Friday. President Obama held two private campaign events in Burlington. His entrance included a 17-car motorcade, Secret Service detail, and police detail from Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester and the state. Not one of those officers knew it at the time–but they were all volunteering.

CHIEF ANDI HIGBEE/BURLINGTON POLICE DEPT: I don't know if that's the expectation but that's the reality.

REPORTER: The same thing happened when Michelle Obama visited in June. Police provided extra security, costing them thousands of dollars, and have not been paid.

CHIEF HIGBEE: Here we are in April and we still have this outstanding debt of approximately $2,100.

REPORTER: When the first lady came this summer, police say they were told by campaign staffers that they would be reimbursed. This wasn't the case when the president came last week. Instead they heard, "We'll see what we can do."

CHIEF WHIPPLE/SOUTH BURLINGTON POLICE DEPT: Certainly when the president or any high-level dignitary comes to visit we provide what's needed to be safe.

REPORTER: Chief Whipple says if it were a public event, they'd feel differently; instead, he says it's as if taxpayers are directly contributing to the Obama campaign.

CHIEF WHIPPLE: If it was a strictly presidential visit, the taxpayer might be expected to pay for that security. In this case, it's a fundraising event. It's a campaign event.

REPORTER: Democratic Party leader Jake Perkinson says we should protect the president at any cost, no matter the function.

JAKE PERKINSON:I think the last thing I want to see if for the president to visit some place and suffer harm, or a presidential candidate suffer harm because of a lack of resources.

REPORTER:Plus, he adds, the event is a net positive for the Burlington economy.

PERKINSON: It was a fantastic event. I don't think anyone in law enforcement begrudges the fact that the president came to visit.

REPORTER: Whipple and Higbee say they agree, and that they'll happily provide security for high-level visitors in the future. They just want the public to know they'll probably be paying for it.