- By George Bennett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies who help protect President Donald Trump when he visits Mar-a-Lago racked up nearly $3.3 million in overtime during presidential trips between November and early February – money that county officials expect to get back from the federal government.
The sheriff’s office has not yet calculated overtime incurred by deputies during Trump’s five Palm Beach visits since Feb. 16.
The spending agreement that Congress passed and Trump signed in March includes $41 million to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for “extraordinary … personnel costs” to protect the president when he visits his private residences during the budget year that ends Sept. 30.
Palm Beach County drew from a similar pot of federal money last year to get reimbursed for $3.4 million in security costs from Trump’s seven Mar-a-Lago visits in early 2017. Law enforcement agencies in New York and New Jersey received more than $37 million to protect Trump when he visited residences there.
The sheriff’s office takes the lead among local agencies assisting the Secret Service when Trump visits Palm Beach, but other police are involved as well. The town of Palm Beach says it paid $115,156 in police overtime during Trump’s visits since November. Police overtime for West Palm Beach — mainly for anti-Trump protests — totaled about $68,500, police spokesman Dave LeFont said.
Last year, the town of Palm Beach was reimbursed $71,270 by the federal government and West Palm Beach got $63,164 for police overtime during Trump’s early-2017 visits.
Trump has made 10 trips to Mar-a-Lago since November, wrapping up his most recent visit on Sunday. He greeted local law enforcement officers before boarding Air Force One and later paid tribute to them on Twitter.
“Thank you to the incredible Law Enforcement Officers from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. They keep us safe and are very cool about it!” Trump tweeted along with a picture of himself surrounded by motorcycle officers.
During Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips between Nov. 21 and Feb. 4, which covered at least a portion of 27 days, sheriff’s deputies earned $3.26 million in overtime, sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said. She said payroll data is not yet available for the five visits Trump made between Feb. 16 and Sunday, which covered at least a portion of 20 days.
The presidential details are paid entirely with overtime so that routine law enforcement operations are not compromised, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said last year.
During Trump’s visits, Bradshaw said, “We don’t take anybody off the road that handles normal calls for service.”
Palm Beach Daily News staff writer Ian Cohen contributed to this story.