WI State Fair Adds Cameras to Beef Up Security


by WDJT Editor

The Wisconsin Sate Fair starts up in about three weeks and this year, organizers have taken additional steps to avoid a repeat of last year's ugly incident on the midway. Violent mob activity took place inside and outside the fairgrounds on opening day. About two dozen people were arrested.

"We are not going to let a few individuals ruin the experience that 911,000 people have at the Wisconsin State Fair," says Wisconsin State Fair CEO, Rick Fernette.

The day after last year's attacks, the fair opened with new security measures. Organizers plan to keep many of those procedures in place for 2012. Fernette says with more time to plan, those measures will be more organized this year.

At the center of the security plan is a law enforcement command post which is staffed around the clock. Plus, organizers purchased 11 new surveillance cameras placed in the most popular areas. That will allow security personnel to watch fair activity from the command center and online. Staff will check ID to make sure a parent or guardian accompanies people under the age of 18 anytime after 5 p.m.

Fair leaders also teamed up with multiple law enforcement agencies for a faster response to trouble inside and outside the fair. "With all law enforcement agencies working together, with them being on the ground, having one universal command center, the key is communications and we think we have really, substantially, improved communication," says Board of Directors Chairman, John Lingying.

"If something does seem to be escalating we will be on top of that faster than what happened in the past," adds Fernette.

Security aside, another upgrade this year is "Spin City," which features 52 rides and games, some of them never before seen at the fair. The 11-day event starts August 2nd.


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