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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Kerry security
may cost Ketchum

Secret Service might not cover all expenses

Express Staff Writer

With Sen. John Kerry having secured the Democratic Party nomination for president, Ketchum city officials are closely examining the potential impacts of having the part-time resident prevail in the November 2004 election.

Ketchum Police Chief Cory Lyman talks to the Ketchum City Council about the possible local consequences of Sen. John Kerry being elected president. Express photos by Willy Cook

In a special briefing Monday, March 15, Ketchum City Council members discussed with Police Chief Cory Lyman and the sole Idaho employee of the U.S. Secret Service whether security measures for Kerry—as a nominee or as president—could disrupt life in the generally tranquil resort town.

With Secret Service Special Agent Robert Harrell, Lyman told council members that a Kerry presidency would certainly have some noticeable impacts on the city and its residents.

"There will be issues when Senator Kerry comes, and spends time in our city," Lyman said.

Lyman noted that Kerry started receiving Secret Service protection Feb. 19, and would certainly gain increased protection if he is victorious in ousting President George W. Bush from the White House.

Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, own a home along the Big Wood River on the northern edge of Ketchum.

Harrell, who is based in Boise, said interruption in traffic flow in central Ketchum would likely be the most noticeable impact of future Kerry visits.

"The traffic thing will be an issue," he said. "But I don’t see the senator hopping around to different events."

Because Ketchum only has "one road in and one road out," Harrell said, some intersections along Highway 75 and Main Street in Ketchum would have to be closed when Kerry travels.

Harrell told council members that Secret Service throughout the 2004 campaign—and possible ensuing four-year presidency—would secure a perimeter around the local Kerry residence during all visits.

"He has a bubble of protection right now," Harrell said. "If he’s in the house, then we secure an area around the house."

The Sun Peak picnic area and public bicycle path that are in proximity of the Kerry residence would not be closed for long periods, Harrell said.

"I can see a temporary closure," he said.

Harrell said the Secret Service does have experience working in the Ketchum area. Last year, agents provided security in Blaine County for the secretary of treasury, the vice president and one of the president’s daughters.

"You’ve seen us before," he said.

If Kerry is elected president, he would not come in and out of the Wood River Valley through Friedman Memorial Airport, Harrell said.

"I anticipate Twin Falls being the landing spot," he said, noting that security measures at the Hailey airport would therefore not need to be increased.

Because Kerry has not formally declared his Ketchum residence as a "second home," local law enforcement agencies would generally not be eligible to receive federal funds to cover their costs for assisting the Secret Service, Harrell noted.

"What we try to do is spread it out (among local agencies)," Harrell said.

The Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Police, county law enforcement and city police would all be asked to assist in protecting Kerry, the agent said.

The federal government does reimburse local agencies for protecting primary residences and providing security for some special outings by politicians. Harrell said the Secret Service has paid for all security provided for Vice President Dick Cheney during fly-fishing outings in the Jackson, Wyo., and eastern Idaho areas.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.