Clay County Sheriff’s deputies will be mingling among the fairgoers at this year’s Clay County Agricultural Fair, providing security and information.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has an ongoing partnership with the fair, according to Public Information Deputy Andrew Ford. Officers on duty have been attending the event for years.
“When you have a large venue or event like this, let’s be real, anything can happen,” said Ford. “If something were to happen, we have people on-site, ready to respond.”
Ford would not disclose how many officers will attend the fair or the exact security measures that will be taken if an incident occurs.
Officers on-site are trained to respond to various emergencies, whether it be a crime, a missing child, or assisting paramedics with a medical emergency. Officers will also help by directing traffic.
One of the tools they are using to provide security is the SaferWatch app. App users can receive traffic and safety notifications directly to their smartphones. Fairgoers may also use the app to assist by reporting suspicious activity and crime tips quickly through the platform.
“If a child goes missing or an elderly person goes missing, they [users] can send that information directly through the SaferWatch app, which we can then push out in real-time to everyone who’s attending the fair,” explained Ford.
Officers will be promoting the app at a booth at the fair, where they’ll provide attendees with information about it and even help with downloading the app. People can also call (904) 833-8477 if they see something suspicious but don’t want to download SaferWatch.
Although the officers will be on duty at the fair, they are still allowed to have fun. Ford explained that officers are encouraged to mingle and take photos with members of the community.
“We encourage our deputies, while they’re out at the fair working, to go out and take pictures and laugh while being alert,” said Ford. “We want them to have fun while doing their job and keeping people safe.”
While Ford explained that no particular event in the past encouraged the Sheriff’s Office to send deputies to the fair, anything could happen in a large crowd of people. The officer’s presence is meant to keep fairgoers safe and allow the community to get to meet some of the officers.
The fair is held at the fairgrounds in Green Cove Springs and runs until Sunday, April 10.