BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield Police Department is taking over responsibilities for this years Kern County Fair, and likely for the foreseeable future. In the past, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office has handled security at the fair, but this year, staffing issues have prevented that.
“The last couple years, we’ve lost staff and reserves at seismic levels,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. “We’re down 144 deputy sheriffs. We really could not commit.”
Despite the change in security, BPD says it is ready for the responsibility.
BPD Lieutenant Rick Dossey expects everything to run smoothly at the fair, saying their goal in providing security is to provide a safe and fun environment for everyone, attendees and vendors alike.
At the same time, Dossey wants to reassure the community that police resources will not be spread thin as a result of the fair.
“I want to emphasize to the community not to worry or think that the officers at the fair are not going to be able to respond to any calls for service out on the street,” said Dossey. “There’s gonna be officers that are specifically to work at the fair, but that’s not going to impact our operations out in the community.”
BPD says it expects there to be at least forty officers at the fairgrounds at all times.
On top of the presence of police security, there are also actions individual fair-goers can take to make sure they, their families, and their belongings stay safe.
Experts say that when you first arrive at the fair, be aware of what the parking space you choose will look like if you’re returning at night and park in a well-lit area. Use the trunk to hide anything you want to leave in your car that might attract a smash-and-grab, such as bags and purses, phones, change, or electronic devices.
Once you are inside the fairgrounds, make sure you can locate your nearest first aid station, and stick to the buddy system as you make your way around to the attractions and rides.
The yellow and white duck-feet printed on the ground at the fairgrounds are intended to help lost children find their way to a BPD dispatch center. Point them out to your children and make sure they understand if they get separated from you, they can follow the prints to find help.
Dossey also says that BPD will have a drone team on-site.
“Another layer of protection we can use to assess situations, to scout out locations, intelligence gathering,” said Dossey. “It’s just another way for us to keep the attendees of the fair safe.”
Both BPD and KCSO remind fairgoers to keep an eye on their children, their belongings, and their surroundings.