Shortly after the 2020 election, the Utah Highway Patrol assigned then-Lt. Gov.-elect Deidre Henderson and her family a full-time security detail. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, the round-the-clock security detail for Henderson was implemented after a specific threat was made toward Henderson. It remains in place, but only for a little while longer.
The final budget bill of the 2023 general legislative session effectively takes away Henderson’s detail by drastically cutting the appropriation for “protective services” in the Utah Highway Patrol budget, dropping the funding from $600,000 to $80,900.
The Utah Highway Patrol routinely provides protection for the governor, but Henderson is the first lieutenant governor to be offered such a detail.
“We don’t comment on our security,” Henderson said Friday evening when asked about the funding decrease.
In 2021, lawmakers appropriated nearly $500,000 to build a fence and for other security upgrades at Gov. Spencer Cox’s private home in Fairview. Legislators tucked the money into a bill that was supposed to fund security upgrades at the Capitol. Legislators kept that appropriation from public view, never discussing the appropriation in the open.
This year the Legislature approved spending $30 million for a massive security overhaul of the Governor’s mansion in Salt Lake City. The plan includes fencing off the entire block from the public, constructing an underground parking garage and acquiring two privately owned apartment buildings that abut the mansion property.
Utah legislative leaders would not comment on the budget decrease.
Salt Lake Tribune reporter Emily Anderson Stern contributed to this story.
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