The Tulsa State Fair is in full swing; and with nice weather, usually come nice, big crowds.
The fair estimated attendance last year at more than a million people, and large crowds like that can be a concern law enforcement, which is why there’s a special team of Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies deployed to handle the most tense situations.
Mixed in the middle of the large fair crowds are a number of sheriff's deputies - as many as 80 on a busy night. Out of those, there are a select few called on to get even the rowdiest fair-goers under control.
Some love the food at the Tulsa State Fair, others, the rides; and when there are so many people in the area, anything can happen, and it’s Tulsa County Sheriff deputies’ job to keep everything running smoothly.
"When you have those crowds in an enclosed space, any type of disturbance, no matter how small, can turn into something big," said Captain Scott Dean.
Dean said over the weekend a rowdy crowd of teens attracted the attention of deputies.
When a potential threat arises, deputies do a few things - the first is sending out more deputies in the crowd.
“Talking to people saying, 'Hey, you guys need to make sure you aren't grouping up to much,’ saying there's a few guys acting up, so we need to make sure they aren't ruining it for everyone else," Dean said.
If that doesn't work, a special response team is called on. They show up and provide more security and extra tools, like a pepper ball launcher.
"We can deploy those few tools to get the person out of the crowd and deal with that person specifically," Dean said.
Deputy Mic Bonin said, "Some people see it as an intimidating weapon, but it can actually allow us to diffuse a situation without incident or injury."
A non-lethal weapon called a glare dazzler can also be used.
"That is a high-intensity light-based tool and is specifically designed for crowd control. It's not going to hurt anybody," said Dean.
Deputies can pick out trouble makers in the crowd and shine a light on them.
Dean said, “It helps us move the non-problem folks away and focus on the real problem."
While deputies aren't responding to threats, they have fun interacting with the crowd.
There are other tools deputies use, but they couldn't show us everything because of security reasons.
The bottom line, though, they’re ready to respond to any situation to keep the crowd here safe.