The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office was recently reimbursed over $170,000 from the Public Utilities Commission’s Line 3 escrow account.
Sheriff Ernie Beitel said that the expenses were incurred from “training deputies, purchasing equipment and expenses incurred during mutual aid requests” in support of the Northern Lights Task Force, and neighboring law enforcement agencies.
The mission statement for NLTF is, “To provide a safe environment that protects life, property, and free speech through a respectful approach by well trained, disciplined peace officers relating to the lawful activities conducted by those who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights in Minnesota.“
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office has so far responded to seven requests for aid from Clearwater, Hubbard and Aitkin counties.
Specially-trained deputies were called into assist in the safe removal of people attached to “sleeping dragon” or tripod devices in Aitkin County.
Beitel says protesters will attach their arms and legs to these devices, and that removing the person is an expensive, time consuming task that always ends in the subject’s arrest.
About $107,000 of the reimbursement was for PPE costs and another $51,000 was in wage reimbursements related to training and planning. Around $23,000 in additional reimbursement requests have been denied, with another $13,000 are still pending.