Local News

Extra Precautions Taken To Ensure Safety At State Fair

Posted October 10, 2006

— The

North Carolina State Fair

swells to the population of a city, with over 100,000 jamming the Midway at one time during busy periods. And with a city, crime problems are a given.

"Any time you have the magnitude of people that come to the fair, anything can happen," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Harrison said the security solution is 150 officers spread out across the State Fairgrounds. That will include deputies, Raleigh police and Fairgrounds police.

"We're prepared," Harrison said. "We've got some good game plans, we got people working undercover, and we got the gates covered throughout the fairgrounds."

The undercover officers will mingle with the crowd and call in uniformed officers if they see trouble.

"You always have a bad apple in every barrel, so if we can weed those bad apples, Gate 9 is where we're going to take them," said Harrison. "We're going to take them out of there, and we're going to take pictures of them so they won't be coming back. If they do come back, we'll arrest them on the spot."

Security cameras will also be watching for trouble among the fair crowds. They've done it in the past, but never to this extent.

"We have them in strategic locations throughout the fair," said Fairgrounds Police Chief Joel Keith. "We will monitor those at all times. We have a command post set up, and the guys in the command post will monitor those, and we even have a camera that's mobile that we can move around. If we have a specific need in a certain area, then we can adjust it as we move forward."

To complete the security plan, the state Highway Patrol will be out in force covering traffic flow - in and out of the fairgrounds.

In the post-9/11 world, nearly every large public event gets more scrutiny. However, police officials said they have no perceived threat at the State Fair. However, they say being ready and being out in force should let all fairgoers concentrate on having a good time.

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