New safety measure at Minnesota State Fair

10:15 PM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - As tens of thousands of people step into the first day of the Minnesota State Fair, security is stepping up its game in the wake of the Boston bombings.

"Presence probably deters at least 80 percent of most problems that may occur," said Minneapolis Police Sergeant Eric Dison, who was on patrol at the fair Thursday.

Minnesota State Fair Police, which has a full time staff along with help from police departments all across the state, says it has more patrols walking the fairgrounds, including undercover officers.

"We have over two hundred officers on any given shift. And they're coming from their local communities. So we're really trying to uphold the community policing," said Officer Brooke Blakey, State Fair's Public Information Officer.

Blakey would not say how many extra officers they have working this year, but she said you'll see one about every 30 yards.

Despite concerns about the Boston terror attack, security officers won't be searching bags as people come through the gates.

"Backpacks are what people pack their things in. We just want our patrons to know, we're looking," said Blakey.

Officers who have specific training in spotting suspicious bags and packages will also be on patrol.

As security officers have done in the past, vehicles coming in and out of the fairgrounds will be checked, as well.

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