Law enforcement ramped up for Pence visit

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A crowd of more than 1,000 people fills a hanger at Glacier Park International Airport at the Get Out the Vote Rally in Kalispell, Montana, on Monday, November 5. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

When Vice President Mike Pence visited Billings in late July, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office estimated his overnight trip accrued a nearly $35,000 price tag.

On Monday, Pence touched down at Glacier Park International Airport near Kalispell for his third visit to Montana this election cycle. Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry was unable to provide an exact figure for Monday’s rally, but estimated it was only a fraction of the cost for Pence’s visit to Billings.

However, the event was “certainly a bit of a personnel drain,” according to Curry.

In addition to the Secret Service, nearly 30 law-enforcement officers and Montana Highway Patrol members were needed at the airport, Curry said. The event was staffed partially with overtime dollars.

But according to Curry, these costs are to be expected and overall, Flathead County was prepared for Pence’s visit.

“We certainly have contingencies built into our budget that allow these [events] to run smoothly,” Curry said.

A week ago the Flathead Valley hosted President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., at the county fairgrounds.

The security resources needed for Pence are nothing compared to those required for a visit from President Donald Trump, Curry said.

In July, the Cascade County Commissioner estimated Trump’s visit to Great Falls cost around $40,000. That event was one of the Trump’s four visits to Montana endorsing Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale.

Reporter Kianna Gardner may be reached at 758-4439 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com.

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