Patrols ramped up on fairgrounds, neighborhood for State Fair

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WEST ALLIS -- As the 161st Wisconsin State Fair kicked off Thursday, August 2nd, there was an increase in security in place following Opening Day violence last year. Organizers are ramping up security for the fair's 11-day run, hoping to avoid the violence seen last year.

On the State Fair grounds, there is more chatter from law enforcement officials' radios, and more officers on patrol.

Wisconsin State Fair officials say over 900,000 officials attended the fair last year. To handle these large crowds, police patrolled the grounds on horseback, bikes and on foot.

"We have over 100 security personnel as well, so they are trained in crowd control. They also do bag checks at the gates, and they enforce our youth admission policy which is no one over the age of 18 can come in after 5:00 p.m. without a parent or guardian," Kristi Chuckel with the Wisconsin State Fair said.

There's an increase in patrols on the fairgrounds, as well as in the neighborhoods surrounding the fair, including 84th Street.

There are also command posts set up throughout the grounds, which operate 24/7, and enhanced security cameras, providing high resolution images.

Some attending Opening Day at the fair said the added law enforcement presence eased their fears. Some also took their own precautions, making sure to keep tabs on their children -- using wristbands with parental information inside in case the child gets lost.

"We really want our fairgoers to know this fair is really a great family experience and we want them to feel safe anytime they are here," Chuckel said.

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