By TIM HORAN
Police activity was pretty consistent with the past couple of years at the Central Kansas Free Fair.
“We didn’t have anything that I would classify as a significant incident,” said Abilene Police Chief Mark Heimer. “What we had were several minor incidents that are par for the course when you have large gatherings of people.”
Vehicles that were blocking vehicles or traffic, accident reports with minor damage to vehicles and some disorderly conduct calls were the most common.
Heimer said seven arrests were made.
“The arrests included things like a minor in consumption, public consumption by an adult and those types of things,” he said.
None of the incidents involved Pride Amusement.
“For the past two fair seasons we have not had any criminal events directly related to the carnival or carnival staff or operators,” he said.
Heimer said that with events like the fair, the police have other concerns than just crime.
“When we’re dealing with something like the parade and the fair, we’re trying to look at it from a complete public safety perspective,” he said. “We want to guard against injury, along the same lines as we would guard against some type of criminal activity.
“In order to do that we take into account all the different factors and some of those would be weather related,” he said. “Anytime you have additional weather hazards that are going, and that could range from anything from excessive heat to lightning, we take that into consideration in our decisions concerning public safety.
“We also recognize, too, that there are a large number of out-of-towners that may need additional assistance because they are unfamiliar with the grounds, the processes or the procedures.”
Heimer said the police try to maintain a real high visibility at the fair.
“In order to do that we first ensure that we have our regular staffing in place to handle the day-to-day operations that would exist even if the parade or fair wasn’t there,” he said. “Then we provide general staffing that is focused specifically on public areas related to the parade and fair.”