Janesville, Rock County have spent $26,000 on Ryan security so far

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

— Safety comes first, even when it creates unplanned expenses in municipal budgets.

Local law enforcement agencies so far have spent about $26,000 in police overtime to provide security for Rep. Paul Ryan since Ryan was selected as the Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Officers and deputies from the Janesville Police Department and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office have been “maintaining a secure presence” in Ryan’s neighborhood when Ryan is staying at his Janesville home, Sheriff Robert Spoden said.

Both agencies, as well as the Beloit Police Department, provided security at a rally for Ryan on Aug. 27 at Craig High School.

The agencies are working at the direction of the U.S. Secret Service, City Manager Eric Levitt said. The federal agents have been providing constant personal protection for Ryan, his wife, Janna, and their three children since shortly after his candidacy was announced Aug 11. The agents have been working out of a tour-bus-style vehicle parked near the Ryan home.

The agents have planned security measures with input from local police, Levitt said. While the federal agents provide day-to-day security for the family, local police assist when Ryan is in Janesville. Local police provide security near Ryan’s home as well as protection for his motorcade between the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport and his home, Spoden said.

Between Aug. 18 and Sept. 1, Rock County spent an estimated $6,640 in overtime and fringe benefits for deputies providing security for Ryan, according to sheriff’s office data. That includes 127 hours of security, according to the data.

The average cost per hour of overtime with benefits is $52.39, according to the data.

In Janesville, the city has spent $20,920 for police overtime. That does not include the cost of security for Ryan’s stay at home on Labor Day weekend, Chief Dave Moore said.

Janesville budgeted $274,332 for overtime in 2012, according to city data.

For comparison, when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made an appearance at Monterey Mills in Janesville in June, Janesville assigned 45 officers to the event at a cost of about $18,229, Levitt has said.

When Ryan is away from home, U.S. Secret Service signs on wooden barriers in four intersections warn drivers and pedestrians that they are subject to search if they enter Ryan’s neighborhood on the city’s near east side. Signs on the barricades also warn drivers against parking without a permit.

The wooden barricades are city of Janesville property and were installed by Secret Service agents, Janesville Police Deputy Chief John Olsen said. The barricades say “road closed,” but the roads are not closed to the public, Olsen said.

When Ryan is home, an officer or a deputy is stationed at each of the intersections at the barriers, Spoden said. Spoden would not divulge details of the assignment, other than to say police are “maintaining a secure presence.”

Beyond each of the wooden barriers are concrete barriers installed by city public works employees at the direction of the Secret Service, said Janesville Operations Director John Whitcomb.

On Harrison Street and St. Lawrence Avenue, the barriers are offset so drivers have to slow down and weave through them. At the two ends of Sinclair Street, the concrete barriers are placed so cars cannot get through.

Although cars cannot get through on Sinclair, emergency responders have full access to the neighborhood, Fire Chief Jim Jensen said. To be sure, firefighters drove the department’s largest vehicle—a 105-foot aerial truck—through the offset barriers, Jensen said. Sinclair Street is accessible from St. Lawrence Avenue, he said.

“We have made sure we can access all of the properties in that vicinity,” Jensen said. “We’ve preplanned and made sure from a public safety perspective.”

Agencies have not talked about how security would change if Romney and Ryan were elected in November, but it would definitely change, Levitt said.

The goal for now is to make sure Ryan, his family and other residents are safe while keeping an eye on the cost, Levitt said.

“It’s something that is necessary in this type of situation,” Levitt said about the security measures. “My office definitely continues to monitor the situation, and police are cognizant of it.”

Last updated: 4:41 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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