Wildlife officers on presidential security detail
Ohio’s state wildlife officers don’t just nab poachers and cite unlicensed anglers and hunters these days. It seems, they also protect presidents.
On Sept. 22, President Donald Trump flew to Lima for a rally at Pratt Industries in Wapakoneta. The Secret Service asked Ohio DNR for help in securing the perimeter of the Allen County Regional Airport while Air Force One was on the ground there.
Division of Wildlife staff responded and dispatched officers Levi Farley from Paulding County and Craig Barr from Allen County to help.
Apparently, this is not the first time the division has aided the presidential detail. Wildlife District Two Manager Scott Butterworth said his officers performed a similar duty early in the Trump Administration when the president visited the Lima tank factory.
The airport is surrounded by unplanted cornfields – typical of what you see in western Ohio this fall as a result of last spring’s very wet weather.
Prior to and during Trump’s September visit, Farley and Barr patrolled the airport’s perimeter on ATVs. They made sure no one sneaked up on the presidential plane while it was on the ground or did anything to sabotage the visit in advance, Butterworth said.
State wildlife chief Kendra Wecker said the officers are well-trained in outdoor security. Secret Service agents in the presidential detail are generally more trained to deal with urban environments. Also, the Secret Service apparently had no ATVs for the task, she added.
I was surprised to hear that.
It would seem a big, federal agency like that would have every kind of transportation and weapon at its disposal.
I was also surprised to learn a plane as big as Air Force One could land at an airport the size of the Allen County facility.
Regardless, the call to assist was a nice acknowledgement of the confidence the Secret Service apparently has in ODNR’s wildlife division.