DES MOINES, Iowa — More than 80,000 people are expected to be at the Iowa State Fair’s opening day Thursday. This year they may notice some extra patrols while walking down Grand Avenue.
“We want everyone to come to the state fair. We want everyone to have a great time. And we want it to be a family event. The purpose of enhanced security is not to deter people from coming to the fair,” Major Randy Kunert with the Iowa State Patrol said.
Kunert says there will be more officers in uniform this year not only patrolling the streets, but also up on rooftops getting that “bird’s eye view.” They also will be having more undercover cops than ever before.
“We do every year but obviously in light of things that have occurred and in our overall security plan that we put in months ago, it’s our intent to have more out here that you probably won’t see because they are in plain clothes. There whole mission out here is just to be watching the crowd,” Commander Doug Phillips with the Iowa State Fair Police said.
There also are about 100 more cameras within the last year according to Phillips. He says they have a task force that’s sole job is to monitor cameras at their command center.
Law enforcement does ask that if you see something say something. They also request that you take a picture of your family when you first get to the fair. That way if you lose a little one or a family member, that picture can help patrol find them.
“The last thing you think about when you go up to a state trooper when you lost someone is what are they wearing,” Lieutenant Nathan Ludwig with the Iowa State Patrol said.
Ludwig says there may be a longer wait at the gates because of more random bag checks, so allow yourself more time to get into the fairgrounds.