Jones County reassessing fair security
MONTICELLO, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
For Jones County law enforcement, the route 91 Harvest Festival shooting hits especially close to home.
“That's the scenario that we're in, 20 some thousand in a small area at a country show,” says Sheriff Greg Graver.
The Great Jones County Fair is well known attracting big name country artists and tens of thousands of fans.
With such a big event ever summer planning for changing threats is nothing new.
“Every year at the fair we kind of adapt to what's been going on nationally and internationally,” says Graver.
In recent years they have started checking bags for weapons and explosives.
They have also started using barricades and heavy machinery to block vehicle entries but they are always training and preparing for the next threat.
“These are the kinds of things that you worry about and you're always wondering did we do enough? is there something that's left unturned? is there some way to improve our operation?” says John Harms, General Manager of the Great Jones County Fair.
The sheriff's office knows it can't prepare for every scenario but they do strive to minimize the time it takes to respond.
“We have tac team members that are in the sheriff’s office and we have equipment that’s strategically put in places throughout the fairgrounds so that if any event would happen that these guys have quick access to heavy equipment if we needed it,” says Graver.
He cautions that no matter the situation, help will take time so people must keep their own safety in mind.
“When I'm in these crowds where are my escape routes? where are cover routes? what can I do to protect myself until help gets there?” he says.
Graver adds that the biggest mistake people can make is to stop enjoying the things they love because of fear.