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Ohio Statehouse Racks Up $1 Million Bill From National Guard

Ohio National Guard members stand sentry at a Statehouse protest on Jan. 17, 2021.
Clare Roth
Ohio National Guard members stand sentry at a Statehouse protest on Jan. 17, 2021.

Although no major protests ended up materializing, the Ohio Statehouse was on lockdown for a week surrounding the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The Ohio National Guard says the cost of providing security in both Columbus and Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Capitol breach was about $1.2 million. 

Stephanie Beougher, spokeswoman for the Ohio National Guard, says active duty costs for personnel at the Statehouse accounted for $1 million, while travel costs for moving guard members within state and to D.C. ran about $162,000.

Gov. Mike DeWine mobilized almost 600 members of the Ohio National Guard to join the Ohio State Highway Patrol in providing security at the Statehouse, which was closed from Sunday-Wednesday, and 1,000 National Guard members for duty around the Capitol in D.C.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says most of its costs are personnel driven, and because of the way the payroll system works, the state won't know how many hours of work and overtime was logged until February.

The FBI had warned the state of a possible "armed march" from pro-Trump demonstrators and potential violence like the U.S. Capitol insurrection. However, the protests that did occur at the Statehouse were non-violent and ended up featuring very few Trump supporters, who were far out numbered by law enforcement.

DeWine defended the ramped-up security, saying the state was responding to "credible threats."

"After what we saw in Washington, D.C., I think it would have been negligent for me not to react that way," DeWine said during a briefing Tuesday. "I think you're seeing governors around the country doing the same thing."

Columbus City Hall and other buildings were also closed until Thursday. 

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.