Ahead of election, Ohio troopers OK’d for $7M more spending

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bipartisan Ohio board has approved an extra $7.2 million for the State Highway Patrol for the coming months as troopers help with security for next week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland and with visits by presidential candidates before the election.

The Ohio Controlling Board approved adding over $4 million to a fund that covers security and investigations and transferring $3.1 million from an emergency fund.

Work covered by the fund includes criminal investigations as well as unscheduled services, such as prison escape searches and support for local law enforcement when extra security is needed or there is civil unrest, said Lt. Robert Sellers, the patrol’s spokesman.

In such instances, “it is important to have an adequate appropriation available to ensure the safety and security of our communities,” Sellers said in an email.

The Highway Patrol wouldn’t disclose the extent of its staffing or assistance for the Cleveland convention that begins July 18.

Cleveland has received a $50 million federal security grant, and the Highway Patrol anticipates being reimbursed for the as-yet-undetermined cost of its help, Sellers said.

Meanwhile, the extra funding helps ensure that the patrol’s financial operations run smoothly going into next week and the following months, he said.

Further along on the political calendar, swing-state Ohio is likely to get plenty more visits by the presidential candidates in the months leading up to the November election, and the patrol typically helps with security for those. The agency anticipates helping again with security for the presidential inauguration in Washington, too, Sellers said.

Aside from the political events, troopers also have security duties for the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, which runs July 27-Aug. 7.

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