JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Last year nearly 18 thousand people poured thought the gates on Saturday arm band day. Fair officials expect this year to be no different, and bigger crowds brings tighter security.
"We are beefing up more officers for this weekend," says Mitch Johnson, Assistant Manager with the NEA District Fair. "Security is the number one thing for us." He says "No Tolerance" is their motto. From the ground to the sky, this weekend patrols will be on hand to keep a lock down on safety.
"We have some 14 to 16 officers here on the grounds, as well as the Office of Emergency Management for Craighead County they've got an overhead aerial with a camera on it that pretty much views the whole fairgrounds," says Johnson. Officers will also be placed on scaffolds on the back end of the midway where the crowds are the heaviest. "It gives our officers an overhead view above the crowd of anything that might happen," says Johnson
New this year is the Jonesboro E-911 Dispatch Mobile Unit located just off the midway. "We have everything that we have at the dispatch center at a touch of a button," says E-911 Director Jeff Presley. He says the mobile unit helps dispatchers keep closer contact with officers working the grounds, providing immediate response to an emergency situation.
"We can track the officers. We can log it down. We know where they are at at all times. So, if we get a call we can find the closest officer to that call. If we need to notify the fair board of a missing child we have those capabilities. Communication is the key. Just being out here and being seen is a security factor for the public," says Presley.
Presley says they've had no problems so far the week, and hopes it can continue throughout the weekend.