Today’s Investigative Special Report – November 6, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “Should Your Community Pay The Tab For Political Rallies?”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Forensic Expert – Senior Author
President Obama has scheduled a visit Keene State College to promote his candidacy for the office of the Presidency of the United State. The crowd is over 1000 partisans who are at the College to support their candidate. There are law enforcement officers at each entrance, special details cover the inside perimeter, and others assist the Secret Service deal with the details of the Senators visibility to the crowd, his entrance and exit out of the college, and other responsibilities.
It is probably an awesome event for someone to attend, but the question is raised reference who is paying for law enforcement to assist the Secret Service in protecting the Senator from the crowd or outside individuals and organizations which want to bring harm to him? This question is one which is complex when trying to answer it.
Depending on the city, county or state law enforcement agencies that provide manpower for these rallies the costs to protect and serve the politician and those who organize a political rally may costs the local taxpayers a significant amount of money.  Therefore, depending on the financial agreement between the politicians and the city, county or state administrators where the event is to take place, there may be a reimbursement for the protection they provide prior to, during, and after the rally.
In the City of Keene, New Hampshire, then Senator Barack Obama and then Senator Hillary Clinton had political rallies at two locations. According to research, both campaigns paid for the hiring of law enforcement officers to handle crowds.  The cost of hiring law enforcement officers is not an inexpensive process. In the City of Keene for each officer hired, it cost the campaigns $56.00 an hour to have a law enforcement officer present and controlling the crowds.
Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The costs across the nation are similar with some law enforcement agencies being more or less expensive. Most of the hourly wages are determined on what the law enforcement agencies or promoters will have to pay the officers and how much money the city, county or state or promoters want to profit from the event. Moreover, the local law enforcement unions may have a required fee the law enforcement administrators or promoters will agree to pay. Some of the officers hired work their daily shift and then travel to the event where they are assigned a position. This is considered an off-duty job and therefore either the law enforcement agency will pay for the officer’s time, or the political event coordinator/promoter.
The policy when Secret Service requests assistance from the local law enforcement agency, the agency will incur the costs. This policy and procedure depends upon the demands of the Secret Service and the size of the event. The greater the event in reference to the size and the number of people who will be attending may end up costing the campaign or Federal Government.
The law enforcement agency may require specific law enforcement officers to attend and be a part of the training which is necessary prior to the event occurring. An officer needs to know specifically what and where they will be assigned prior to the event. Further, the Secret Service and Criminal Intelligence will have intelligence about potential danger areas, individuals, and organizations that may be a problem prior to, during, and after the event.
Yesterday while President Obama was in the battleground state of Ohio, President Obama found himself on the receiving end of heckling from a pro-life advocate. According to LifeNews.com, “The pro-life protester held up a cardboard sign that read “this moral wrong should never be a constitutional right.” The sign included some grisly photographs of aborted babies.”
In August, 2012, while Mitt Romney was speaking to a group of supporters in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday night alongside his newly selected running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-W), was heckled by a protester in the audience. But Romney took the opportunity to forcefully shout down the protester and admonish him for his lack of respect and civility.
Most hecklers at political events are shouted down by the audience and asked to calm down and listen to the speaker. Law enforcement will move in on hecklers who fail to heed the warning which is generally given by the audience or the politician. Hecklers vary from disagreements with the political candidate to just being obnoxious because others will listen to them for that special moment and time.
The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act To Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision is to prohibit employees (civil servants) in the executive 
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, 2008 US presidential candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of the executive branch, from engaging in partisan political activity (Wikipedia, n.d.).
The reason the Hatch Act is of importance is it regulates what a civil employee can and can’t do when it comes to political activities. The Act does not limit one’s right to participate in a political campaign, but their behavior as long as it follows the Act will not cause them any repercussion. Law enforcement officials are limited to what is permissible and impermissible when it comes to their political activities. An example of what is permissible and impermissible is as follows:
It is permissible for officers to:
• Attend fundraisers, display yard signs, or bumper stickers, and attend political rallies;
• Give a speech or keynote address at a political fundraiser, so long as the officer is not on
duty and does not solicit contributions. The invitation for the speech or address may have the
officer’s name, but may not solicit contributions or state the officer’s official title;
• Canvass for votes in support of or in opposition to partisan political candidates or a candidate
for political party office;
• Endorse or oppose a partisan political candidate in a political advertisement, broadcast,
campaign literature, or similar material, so long as the officer is not on duty and not wearing a
uniform, badge, or insignia;
• Run for any nonpartisan office (The entire election must be non-partisan—if any candidate in
the race runs on a partisan ticket, the candidacy of the officer is not permitted under the Act).
A nonpartisan race is not covered by the Hatch Act, and the officer may therefore solicit and
receive political contributions;
• Write a personal check to a political candidate;
• Participate in a committee for a lodge regarding endorsements of candidates, so long as the
endorsement comes from the labor organization and not an individual police officer, and the
duties do not involve personal solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of political contributions.

It is impermissible to:

• Allow one’s name or likeness to be used in campaign literature in the police officer’s
professional capacity;
• Host a fundraiser for a political candidate and recruit attendees using the officer’s official title
(however, a spouse who is not covered under this Act may host such a fundraiser and the
officer may attend, but may not personally solicit contributions to the fundraiser);
• Allow the officer’s name to appear on an invitation to a fundraiser as a sponsor of the
fundraiser or as a point of contact for the fundraiser;
• Engage in campaigning during working hours;
• Use any official authority for influence for political purposes, including using the officer’s
official title or authority to coerce individuals to participate in political activity;
• Run for any elected partisan office;
• Solicit, accept, or receive uncompensated individual volunteer services from a subordinate for
any political purpose. (Fraternal Organization of Police, n.d.)

Law enforcement officials either participate in rallies or are employed by the law enforcement agency they work for or are associated with. However, due to their position in law enforcement they have to and will follow the rules of the Hatch Act. It would seem the Federal Government would try to associate other professions into an Act which monitors and requires specific behavior. However, the First Amendment provides for the right to participate in protests and etc. The issue of which is more compelling, is something which needs to be researched.
Citizens in each community where a political rally occurs need to monitor who is paying for what. In small towns where there are minimal law enforcement officers and their budget is based on local taxes, the campaign and/or Federal Government needs to repay the cities for the expense of having their officers work the political event. It is important to have law enforcement officers in place to protect any politician but the costs if at all possible should be paid by the politician and the event organization. If you had a political rally in your city, county or state have you checked to ascertain who paid the tab?

Lawrence W. Daly
Kent, WA

Enhanced by Zemanta

This is


Post a Comment

All comments and feedback appreciated!

Criminology & Justice Headline Animator


Law Books




Serial Killers



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...