HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLA - The Florida State Fair opened Thursday morning and it ends Monday, Feb 19.
ABC Action News spoke with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, this morning, about the security plan.
Sheriff Chronister is confident the plan they have is a good one. He said the number of people ejected from the fair and arrested last year dropped by 40 percent and that percentage indicates to him their plan is working.
“We’re constantly revising and examining our security plans and the state fair (is) no different. Over the last several years, we’re always modifying our security plans (and) what we can do to make it better,” Chronister said.
Tomorrow is Student Day. Four years ago, Student Day was called one of the worst first Friday’s in fair history. Deputies ejected almost 100 people and arrested a dozen people after fights broke out, including a stampede at the fair. You may remember Andrew Joseph III, who had been kicked out of the fair, was killed by a car as he tried crossing I-4.
Sheriff Chronister said they plan to have more than 200 off-duty deputies patrolling Friday night on top of having school resource officers present. He said the fair security plan works because of all the agencies involved that are working together.
“I just think it’s important for everyone to know that it’s a great family friendly safe environment,” Sheriff Chronister said.
The sheriff said if families have any concerns, while they are enjoying the fair on any day, they can stop one of the deputies to report any issues.
“I think it speaks volumes with the security presence that we have here and our security plan that we have,” the sheriff said.