Ohio State Patrol security aid bill tops $2.4 million

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins - Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Overtime and other costs for the State Highway Patrol topped $2.4 million for providing extra security around the Ohio Statehouse in the wake of the U.S. Capitol breach, the patrol said.

The $2,433,841 spent by the patrol entailed about $2.3 million in pay including overtime and about $178,000 in nonpayroll expenses such as lodging, water and meals, according to figures released by the patrol.

“The Patrol had staffing and security measures in place to ensure the safety of those who were there to exercise their first amendment rights and protect property,” patrol spokesperson Lt. Tiffiany Meeks said Thursday.

The patrol costs are on top of the $1.2 million it cost Ohio to activate members of the National Guard for duty protecting the Statehouse and to provide security in Washington during the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The state ramped up security after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings on Jan. 17 ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

But concerns over potential protests at the Ohio Statehouse Jan. 17 faded as a small number of armed but peaceful demonstrators were considerably outnumbered by state troopers and National Guard members during an afternoon rally. Other statehouses also saw small groups with no clashes reported.

On Inauguration Day, a small crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters rallied peacefully at the Ohio Statehouse, also far outnumbered by security personnel.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine activated about 1,000 members of the Ohio guard for duty in and around the U.S. Capitol following its Jan. 6 breach by a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump. DeWine activated about 500 guard members for duty providing security at the Ohio Statehouse ahead of possible protests in the days afterward.

The estimated cost of the Ohio Guard deployment, including pay, meals and accommodation, was $1,042,000. The cost of in-state travel for Guard members was $68,732, and federally funded travel costs to Guard members serving in and around Washington for Biden’s inauguration was $93,110.

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Associated Press