'No blueprint' for Pence visit to Hudson; local security costs top $30K
Hudson police weren't unfamiliar with the arrival of a White House dignitary — President George W. Bush made a campaign stop there in 2004.
What authorities weren't familiar with was how to plan for it.
"There was no blueprint that we could just start plugging people into," Hudson Police Chief Geoff Willems said of Vice President Mike Pence's stop on Nov. 3 at Valley Cartage, where he campaigned for Gov. Scott Walker.
Unlike Bush's visit to Hudson, where the U.S. Secret Service handled planning and logistics, those responsibilities were left to local authorities for Pence's visit. Willems, who led those efforts, was given word on the Wednesday ahead of Pence's Saturday event.
"It was a stressful three days," the chief said.
He enlisted the help of numerous other western Wisconsin agencies from as far away as Chippewa Falls.
All told, the overtime costs for personnel who aided in security efforts for the event was just over $30,000. None of the officials from the agencies involved said they were planning to recoup those funds.
"That's part of the service to our country that we provide," Willems said, adding that local authorities have provided pro bono security to presidential candidates in the past.
He said the Pence event drew "a carload" of peaceful protesters, who remained in a designated space near the parking area. Willems added that officers tried to notify the public that the event would involve sporadic traffic changes in spite of the short notice.
"I hope people weren't too awfully inconvenienced by it," he said.
Security included multiple agencies on the Minnesota side of Pence's travel route, as well. Those agencies included Woodbury police, which incurred about $2,000 of overtime, according to a spokeswoman. Costs to the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota totaled $5,491, according to Cmdr. Doug Anschutz.
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