Sioux Falls, SD
You might hit the Sioux Empire fair this week to have fun. But someone else is there watching you.
Police rounds pick up in the evening as more people walk through the gates. Security includes deputies, volunteers, fair security, and even undercover police are all there to make sure you enjoy the Sioux Empire Fair safely.
Lindsey Buehner is the chaperone and resident rider along with her young niece and nephew. While waiting for a ride on the fun slide, Buehner is watching the crowds, finding comfort knowing officers are watching out for her.
“Yeah, I saw some. I saw a kid getting led by a carnival guy to his parents, so they do get lost,” Buehner said.
“You obviously hope nothing happens, but we're here for a presence to deter big crowds,” Minnehaha County Sgt. Pete Jaros said.
Jaros is among the dozens of Minnehaha County authorities who make the fairgrounds home during the fair's run. Lost children are just a fraction of the more than a dozen calls officers receive daily.
“We make it a big presence out here. It's our responsibility for security. And we take it very seriously. It's one of the biggest events in the state,” Jaros said.
Law enforcement officers don't just patrol on foot. They are also wired in high in the sky with cameras looking out for those who might be too distracted to notice danger.
“On the midway when it gets busy later in the evening there's more of a presence. And we hope it deters thefts, fights and disagreements,” Jaros said.
And it gives peace of mind to those like Buehner watching children, hoping to have a good time.
So far this year fair officers say everyone has been on good behavior. The most serious call they've had is a theft this week.