- Associated Press - Friday, December 25, 2015

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia sheriff stands by his decision to spend $15,000 helping the Secret Service when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came to Macon in November.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis tells The Macon Telegraph (https://bit.ly/1PnV0OC ) that his office spent about $15,000 on overtime expenses so his deputies could help secure the Macon Coliseum and provide a motorcade for Trump on Nov. 30.

Davis notes that cities nearly always absorb the cost of security when presidential candidates - or the president - comes to town.

“When we’re asked by a federal agency to assist, that’s what we do,” Davis told the newspaper.

Davis was responding to public criticism from former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis, who argued that some local governments are reimbursed by campaigns when national figures visit.

The sheriff said that’s certainly not been the case in Macon. He recalled Bibb taxpayers chipping in for visits by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney and President Barack Obama, both as a candidate and as chief executive.

“In the past when these types of events have happened, there’s not been any ask of reimbursement,” he argued, adding that his office budget includes overtime pay for special events, from routine events like parades and festivals to unexpected happenings like storms or a large-scale political rally.

Secret Service detail is commonly augmented by local law enforcement when a protected official or candidate travels beyond his or her home base.

And the agency itself does not ever reimburse for duties related to protecting public figures, though it’s not unheard of for a presidential campaign to cut a check when a local agency sends them an invoice.

The Secret Service also does not decide who it protects. Current federal law lets the secretary of Homeland Security, together with a panel of congressional advisers, decide when “major” presidential candidates and their spouses receive protection.

The federal security force did not begin protecting presidential candidates until Robert Kennedy was killed the night of the California primary in 1968.

On its website, the agency says it protects candidates “to maintain the integrity of the democratic process and continuity of government.”

Trump and fellow GOP candidate Ben Carson are the only two Republican candidates to receive protection thus far, getting approved earlier this fall. Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton has had Secret Service protection since 1992, when her husband, Bill Clinton, won the presidency.


Information from: The Macon Telegraph, https://www.macontelegraph.com

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