Sheriff-patrolThe Lee County Sheriff’s Office continues to rack up overtime expenses after another busy weekend of protests against the construction of the Bakken oil pipeline.

The sheriff’s office says about 20 people were arrested Friday and Saturday on charges including trespassing and interference with official acts. Some were cited and released, while others were taken to jail for about a day until they see a judge.

Chief Deputy Scott Bonar says in the past five weeks his office has spent more than $4,000s on overtime. “We’ve been down there every Saturday. I have to call in my uniformed off-duty deputies and pay them overtime. It is mandatory work,” Bonar says.

Bonar says he does not know where that money will come from as the department’s budget is set. He says the additional overtime is also taking deputies and administrators away from their families and friends. Bonar says he does not plan to send a bill to the company building the pipeline as that could give the impression that the sheriff’s office is working security.

(Reporting by Jason Parrott of Tri-states Public Radio)