State spends more than $200,000 on security during high alert

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state has spent more than $200,000 over the past three weeks on security costs related to the nation's orange terror alert, mainly on troopers beefing up highway patrols and building security.

Since the alert took effect Dec. 21, the Ohio State Highway Patrol opened all truck weigh stations for 24-hour-a-day inspections and increased patrols around Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.

They also increased security around state office buildings in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, including the Ohio Statehouse.

The patrol's cost was $201,521 so far, for a combination of troopers being reassigned during regular shifts and working overtime, said patrol spokesman Sgt. Rick Zwayer.

"It's taking some of our officers and personnel away from their regularly assigned duties, at least in some capacity, as far as traffic safety, and placing that emphasis on homeland security," said Sgt. Rick Zwayer, spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has helped the U.S. Coast Guard patrol Lake Erie and provide extra security around Ohio River dams, said spokeswoman Jane Beathard. The agency has absorbed the costs internally to date, she said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)