Local public safety agencies will be ready to greet residents and visitors alike when the gates open on The Great Frederick Fair on Friday.
Approximately six deputies are assigned to patrol the fair each day from opening until about 4 p.m., followed by a larger contingent for the evening shift, said Maj. Tim Clarke, a sheriff’s office spokesman. Off-duty deputies will also be on hand to help control traffic into the fair and in and out of the grandstand for evening shows and performances, but the goal was to limit overtime as much as possible.
“It’s wrapped into our regular patrol, so usually the majority of the folks assigned to the fair are assigned from units that aren’t normally out on the road,” Clarke said. “So, like, we’ll have some people from our criminal investigations out there, for example. ... I can’t say there’s not any overtime, but if there is any, it’s minimal.”
Those deputies who do sign up for extra duty assignments are paid overtime, but the fair reimburses the sheriff’s office for that expense, the major added.
Sheriff’s deputies and Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services personnel will both be set up primarily at the main entrance to the fair on Monroe Avenue near East Patrick Street, but deputies will patrol the fair regularly along with private security hired by the fair, Clarke said.
While sheriff’s deputies handle all criminal matters that occur in the fairgrounds during the fair, Frederick police will be available to assist, said Michele Bowman, a spokeswoman for the city police department.
“Last year I think there was a fight one night and we assisted with that, but traditionally it’s if they need us they’ll call us,” Bowman said.
Fortunately, day-to-day coverage at the fair has typically been pretty low-key, according to Clarke.
“Our biggest thing that we handle at the fair is what I like to call ‘missing parents,’” Clarke said with a chuckle. “Which is where a kid will come up to us and say, you know, ‘I can’t find my parents,’ and we’re able to resolve those pretty quickly.”
Medical emergencies have also historically been pretty mundane at the fair, said Doug Wallick, a battalion chief who oversees the fire service’s operations and special events division.
“If it’s hot out like it is today, you can dehydrate quickly and that’s one of the most important things we want people to consider. ... That’s what we see more than anything else,” Wallick said.
Along with an air-conditioned tent near the Monroe Avenue entrance, the Division of Fire and Rescue Services will have an ambulance on standby at the fair ready to transport any patients with injuries requiring more thorough medical care, Wallick said.
The tent will be staffed from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day unless the fair closes early, with all calls after hours going through the county’s 911 system, Wallick said. Medical personnel won’t do as much patrolling of the fairgrounds during the day, but they will have a cart to respond to injuries farther from the entrance.
Sheriff’s deputies, medical personnel and private security will all be able to communicate directly with one another during the event, and every agency takes part in daily briefings with fair staff and board members.
“They’re very open and they’re very much on the same page that everyone who visits the fair has a good time and a safe time,” Wallick said. “We want everybody to enjoy themselves and have a safe visit and leave happier than when they came.”
As for law enforcement, Clarke encouraged residents and visitors at this year’s fair to feel free to approach sheriff’s deputies to tell them about any concerns or suspicious behavior, no matter how trivial it may seem.
“If you see something, say something, I really can’t stress that enough,” Clarke said. “A lot of people think, ‘Ah, I don’t want to bother them,’ but that’s never the case. You’re not bothering us at all.”