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Minnesota State Fair reaches goal of securing 200 officers just days before opening

Minnesota State Fair crowds expected to return to pre-pandemic levels
Minnesota State Fair crowds expected to return to pre-pandemic levels 02:10

MINNESOTA FAIRGROUNDS, Minn. – Minnesota State Fair organizers announced Wednesday that they have reached their goal of "securing 200 law enforcement officials" to patrol the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

State Patrol police officers will make up a majority of the workforce, with help from Minnesota State Patrol troopers, Ramsey County Sheriff's deputies and "other agencies."

In just over a week, millions will begin to pack the fairgrounds, with organizers estimating that crowd sizes will be similar to 2019, before the pandemic. That year, more than two million people visited the fair during the 12 days.

But staffing for security hasn't come easy this year following the Ramsey County Board of Supervisors decision to not renew a partnership between the fair and the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. Instead, the State Fair reinstated its police department.

In a letter sent to the Ramsey County on August 4, organizers expressed concern they may not be able to fulfill the needed 200 officers in time for the fair. In response, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office has agreed to provide up to 40 deputies a day and active shooter response teams. Additional state troopers will be positioned at entrances.    


"Not only to reconstitute any police department, but for the biggest event that Minnesota sees every year singularly, it's, you know, a big hill to climb up, and they've done a phenomenal job," Deputy Alex Graham said.

The sheriff's office will also be hiring community ambassadors who will be trained to de-escalate situations.

State Fair Police Chief Ron Knafla was confident earlier this week that they would have enough officers when the fair begins.

"The plan also includes metal detectors and bag checks at entry gates, law enforcement officers from throughout the state on patrol around the clock, security cameras and much more," Knafla said.

Last Friday, a district judge dismissed a lawsuit brought on by gun rights activists who challenged the state fair ban on guns.

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