Southampton Town Taxpayers Responsible For Police Overtime Associated Presidential Visit

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Numerous police agencies were on hand to protect President Donald Trump when he visited the Town of Southampton for two fundraisers in early August. DANA SHAW

Taxpayers in the Town of Southampton and Suffolk County will be responsible for footing the bill for $9,430.84 in overtime paid to Town Police officers and $40,967 in overtime paid to County Police officers when President Donald Trump visited Southampton on August 9.
Officials declined to speculate on the overall cost to local taxpayers for the visit, other than the overtime costs, citing security concerns.

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he didn’t think the cost could be billed back to the Republican National Committee, because it was a matter of providing safety for the sitting president — who reportedly collected $12 million for his reelection campaign and the committee at his two local events.

“The large expense relates to the safety of the president passing through the area,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a text message. “It is about protecting the POTUS.”

Mr. Trump flew into Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton just before noon that day, and was escorted to billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross’s home on Bullhead Bay by way of motorcade.

While at Mr. Ross’s home, Mr. Trump participated in a roundtable with supporters, who paid $250,000 each toward his campaign and to the Republican National Committee, just to participate.

After the roundtable, Mr. Trump was escorted to Joe Farrell’s estate in Bridgehampton, roughly eight miles from Mr. Ross’s home. The president gave a speech that lasted for about an hour, and then headed back to Francis S. Gabreski Airport a short time later.
State Police, Suffolk County Police and Southampton Town Police blocked off roads to clear the way for Mr. Trump’s motorcade between each stop. The streets were lined with supporters and protesters, who all hoped Mr. Trump would see or hear their messages.

Mr. Schneiderman said the taxpayers would foot the bill for police services related to traffic rerouting and road closures, along with any additional expenses that were incurred.
Southampton Police Chief Steven Skrynecki would not say how many officers from the department assisted with keeping the president safe during his visit, nor would he provide any sort of details regarding their duties, because of an agreement with the Secret Service.
But he did say that 16 of the officers from the town who did help, incurred a total of 85 hours in overtime, amounting to $9,430.84.

“We tried to be as diligent as possible, utilizing people who were on duty and also trying to manage our time frames with respect to the time schedule of the Secret Service request,” Chief Skrynecki said this week. “So, if somebody’s off, I’m not bringing them in at 6 a.m. if they’re really not needed on traffic until 1 p.m.”

Managing the traffic took a considerable amount of resources from the department, he said, but there were other tasks that were part of the security package the department agreed to help with, that he could not disclose details on. “Suffolk County had a greater presence, as did the state,” Chief Skrynecki added.

In addition to the overtime paid out to the Town Police, Suffolk County also paid officers overtime during the presidential visit. According to Suffolk County Police, the department paid $40,967 to officers for overtime during Mr. Trump’s visit to Southampton.

State Police did not immediately respond to a request under the Freedom of Information Law seeking overtime expenditures during the visit.

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