• Tax money funds U.S. Open security at Pinehurst

    By: Alexa Ashwell


    Thousands of people traveled to Pinehurst to witness the U.S. Open Championship last week. The Women’s U.S Open officially begins Thursday.

    Officials estimate by Sunday the tournaments will have pumped up to $140 million into the state’s economy. But Channel 9 learned that boost comes with a $110,000 cost to taxpayers in order to provide security for the tournament.

    “It’s a real unique opportunity for North Carolina state law enforcement to shine,” said Greg Baker, who is the law enforcement commissioner for North Carolina Department of Public Safety. “It’s a tremendous return on investment.”

    Baker confirmed the cost for security at the USGA Championship would be absorbed by the state.

    “State lawmakers assured our department they would do their best to make us whole again or replenish our budget,” said Baker over the phone. 

    He said the money comes from operational funds.

    “This expense isn’t in our budget but we have (an) accounting measure we can do to make sure the bills are paid,” Baker said.

    Baker confirmed nearly 250 Department of Public Safety employees will work the tournaments and that number includes at least 170 state highway patrol personnel.

    Channel 9 obtained a list of troopers who will be providing security at the tournaments and asked if it would jeopardize the safety of residents. 

    “These shifts will be covered, and we'll respond to anything and everything that occurs throughout the state," he said.

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