XENIA, Ohio -- It's been an exciting -- and expensive -- few weeks for Ohio's self described "City of Hospitality."
President Bush stopped in downtown Xenia on Sept. 27, John Kerry gave a speech at the high school Saturday and Vice President Cheney came by Tuesday on another run for the Buckeye State's 20 electoral votes."
"It takes just about all we can get together," said Xenia Police Lt. Dan Donahue, a 28-year veteran. "The day President Bush came through -- he made about a 5 or 6 minute stop -- that trip cost us $2,100 in overtime. . . . We had to call just about everyone."
Xenia has a population of about 24,000 and full mobilization of the 44-officer force is usually only required for the Old Fashioned Days festival, "unless there something unusual, like a tornado. We've had a couple of those. There's not much you can do about that either," Donahue says.
The biggest drains are traffic control for the motorcades rolling though town and security. The couple-hour Kerry visit cost the department approximately $4,000, about what Cheney's is expected to total. And there's no reimbursement for this federal mandate. "That's about $10,000 in a couple weeks," Donahue said.
But bigger things have happened here, like the infamous tornado that hit April 3, 1974, killing dozens and flattening much of the community, and he says this is a storm the police can handle."
"It's kind of neat having these politicians though our area, thinking we're important enough for all these trips," Donahue said. "It does put a strain on our manpower and our budgets, but it's just something we have to live with."