Tulsa State Fair Security Reports Quiet Year
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Games, rides and lots of fun are all found at the Tulsa State Fair. Also on sight is plenty of security.
"The folks that have been doing this for decades say that this is the quietest fair that they've ever experienced," said Captain John Bowman of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
Captain John Bowman is in charge of security for this year's fair. He says close to 170 sheriff's deputies are on patrol, plus another 50 from Tulsa Police, some undercover.
But until a few months ago, it wasn't clear if Captain Bowman would be in charge or someone from TPD. The controversy stemmed from when the City of Tulsa took ownership of the fairgrounds.
Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer said his department wouldn't be in charge of security unless the fair board paid the $300,000 bill, a notion that didn't sit well with Commissioner Fred Perry, as he told us in August
"A $250,000 to $300,000 hit to our bottom line is significant," said Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry. "You don't think that should be an expense of the fair? We think it's the city's responsibility."
The solution put the sheriff's office in the lead, but Captain Bowman says the two agencies are working together. For example, Tulsa Police is in charge during off-hours like overnight, and TPD is handling any investigation into crimes that take place at the fair if a suspect is not taken into custody right away.
It's an arrangement that's working, according to Captain Bowman, who says the sheriff's office enjoys the challenge and responsibility of protecting fairgoers.
"We're big on tradition, and we've done it so long, it's a chance for us to get out on a large scale, a lot of us and meet a lot of people at the same time," Bowman said.
Sunday is the last day of the fair, The QuikTrip Center closes at 9 p.m., but the midway is open until 11 p.m.