In wake of Vegas shooting, security to be tight at State Fair
Posted October 9
Raleigh, N.C. — When the North Carolina State Fair opens in three days, security may be tighter than usual.
The mass shooting in Las Vegas a week ago has prompted law enforcement agencies and venues across the country to take a close look at their security plans.
"We always look for ways to improve, to make sure (everyone is safe)," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Monday. "Something like what happened in Vegas, yes, we ran that by [our partner law enforcement agencies], and if there's something we can do, we come up with some good ideas.
"We feel like we've got a pretty good plan in place," Harrison said.
That plan involves metal detectors and bag checks at every entrance, surveillance cameras and as many as 250 officers patrolling the State Fairgrounds in uniform and undercover.
"We just want to make sure we're proactive," Harrison said. "We've got people scattered all over this fairgrounds, so they know that we're here. They know, if they do something stupid, someone is going to see it."
Vendors like Chris Wrenn of Old North State Catering, who has been bringing his food to the State Fair for seven years, said what impresses him most is how swiftly law enforcement responds when needed.
"We've had a couple of occasions where there was like a little skirmish or something breakout, and it was unreal how quickly they were on the scene and it was handled – the people were taken away from the crowd," Wrenn said. "We always feel safe here, especially (when) the Wake County Sheriff's Department is in mass force. I'm always amazed at how many of those guys are walking around."
Last year, more than 1 million people attended the fair, and organizers said they hope to exceed that total this year.
"On a weekend, we may have the population of Cary or close to it," said Brian Long, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.
The agency, which oversees the fair, wants fairgoers to feel safe but also to keep their eyes open," Long said.
"If you do see something that looks weird on the fairgrounds, let a law enforcement officer know about it," he said.