Security In Full Force For Coastal Empire Fair Opening - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Security In Full Force For Coastal Empire Fair Opening

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The 64th Annual Coastal Empire Fair kicked off Thursday night.  But many were still thinking about what happened last year. 

Last November there was chaos, confusion, and an army of police officers after several shots were fired during the fair.  Eight people were injured and police blame the incident on a gang dispute. 

"You can't even go to the fair and have a good time.  It's ridiculous.  There's always a bad apple," fair goer Stacey Jenkins said Thursday.   

This year, Metro Police and fair organizers are determined to make sure we don't see a repeat of the violence. 

"If you look at what happened last year. We wanted to alleviate any concerns that people may have that may prevent them from wanting to come out to the fair and enjoy themselves," said Lt. David Gay of Metro Police.   

The crack down on violence starts with the front gate.  The entrance is lined with metal detectors, wands, and bag checks.

"They'll be confiscating any weapons that people are trying to bring in. They'll have the option to either not go in, leave the weapon, or confiscate the weapon," said Lt. Gay. 

And then there's the strong police presence throughout the fairgrounds.  Officers are in both uniforms and plain clothes.  They have both marked and unmarked vehicles around the premise.  And on the busiest days, police promise horse and ATV patrols and even a helicopter. 

Organizers say it's not the patrons coming through the front entrance that worry them.  It's the ones sneaking in, like jumping the fence.  That's why they have patrols guarding the perimeters of the grounds.

"I feel safe with the police out here," said one fair goer. 

"You can tell the security has been beefed up," said another. 

In the end, Metro Police and fair organizers agree, they plan to do whatever it takes to keep the fair safe for families. 

The fair continues through Sunday, November 10th. 

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