While no one has a firm handle on how much it will cost for the daily presence of hundreds of law enforcement officers at peaceful protests at the Capitol, it is possible to guess.
State officials say about 200 officers a day have been sent to the Capitol from dozens of agencies across Wisconsin. The state has promised to reimburse local governments for salaries, mileage and lodging costs.
The city of Madison has been heavily represented, with a daily presence at the Capitol of between 70 and 220 officers, according to Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain.
As of Monday, DeSpain said Madison is "somewhere about the 12,000-hour mark in terms" of its commitment of officers. But he declined to crunch the numbers, in part because it isn't known how much overtime pay is involved. The department was unable to provide a midweek update.
The average salary of a Madison cop is just over $60,000. Assuming a 40-hour workweek, that translates to $28.85 an hour. Multiply that by 12,000 hours and the state - which Gov. Walker insists is "broke" - already owes Madison $346,200. And that's just for straight wages through Monday, Feb. 28, without overtime or other costs.
But perhaps it is money well spent. Over the past two weeks, warm relations have developed between protesters and the law enforcement officers on hand to keep them in line. By and large they like each other, and see each other as being on the same side.
"There are going to be some positives that come from this," says DeSpain. "People who didn't know their local law enforcement before, they've spent a lot of hours with each other and learned that police are here to protect and serve."