Successful and costly candidate visits

Successful and costly candidate visits


Last week was a historic one for Suffolk County in that for the first time in a very long time —if ever—the county served as a pre-Primary Day campaign stop for two frontrunners in the presidential election: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s evening visit on April 11—a fundraiser for the Suffolk Democratic party—took place at Villa Lombardi’s catering in Holbrook. The Trump rally, which was a fundraiser for the Suffolk Republicans, was held at The Emporium in Patchogue on April 14. Both events took place amidst an enormous amount of hype—especially for Trump—and thankfully, it all turned out fine.

Kudos goes to the Suffolk County Police Department for managing the nicely orchestrated protection for not only the candidates, but also the crowds of attendees at these two venues. Mostly though, they should be commended for their work in Patchogue, where scores of protestors and Trump supporters packed several different areas of the village.

Trump’s visit required road closures and a cooperative effort on the part of different law enforcement agencies.  That’s because the candidate’s comments on illegal immigration, coupled with the choice of venue for the rally, resulted in a glut of opposition to his appearance. The Emporium happens to be located only steps away from where an Ecuadorian immigrant was killed in a racially motivated attack in 2008 that gained national attention.

The organizers of this rally had the right to select any venue. However, choosing to hold this event in that particular location, where there is a large immigrant population and the memory of that hate crime still stirs a flurry of emotion, was a bad decision. But despite the reaction it generated, the protests were peaceful, which might be due in part to the presence of law enforcement there.

All of that protection didn’t come cheap, though. For the short time she was in Islip Town, the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady cost taxpayers $3,843 in police overtime. However, the event for businessman Trump cost lots more—a whopping $42,205.67 in overtime pay.

Obviously, the need for more protection at the latter event spoke for itself. However, the important thing is everyone remained safe, and because of that, any cost to Suffolk County should be regarded as money well spent.