SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — Friday marked day three of the Salem Fair. While people saw rides and fair food, they also saw stepped-up security measures.
“The key is we’re doing everything we can to make the public safe,” said Carey Harveycutter, manager at the Salem Fair.
Security wands, metal detectors, and extra police officers were all noticeable at the fair’s main entrance on Friday, July 2.
The extra safety precautions come three days after a shooting at the fairground left two people injured. In response, organizers regrouped with staff and the Salem Police Department.
“We went over what we can do differently, how to make changes, and then you work to implement them,” said Harveycutter.
When asked why security measures weren’t implemented since the fair’s opening day, Harveycutter says it all comes down to the timing of the shooting: 8:57 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.
“We’ve been wanding at nine o’clock every year for the past five or six years,” said Harveycutter.
Now, he’s taking measures a step further, with metal detectors rented out from ESCO – a Texas-based security company.
Harveycutter also adds that the money for the devices is coming from the fair’s own operating account.
“No matter what gate you come through, if you come through the back gate, or you go through the front gate, or if you go through the one beside the field, you’re going to have to go through a metal detector,” said Harveycutter. “And you have to pass successfully.”
A variety of law enforcement agencies will also be present, including Virginia State Police, the Roanoke County Police Department, and the Vinton Police Department.
“We have officers from a number of departments,” said Harveycutter.
Harveycutter adds the resources are to ensure safety and protection for all.
“I take it very personal that I’ve invited these people here, and it upsets me when things like that happen,” said Harveycutter. “But I have to remember that I can’t control things. I can control my actions, and only my actions, and I hope that other people control theirs.”
The battery-powered metal detectors may be something fair-goers will need to get used to for future events. Harveycutter says staff will evaluate the device’s use every day until the end of this year’s Salem Fair on July 11. Staff will then reconvene to determine if the metal detectors may need to be a permanent feature.
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