There will be increased security at this year’s Western Festival as a result of the violence that occurred on opening night in 2017.
The first night of the Western Festival has been known as “suicide night” for many years. It is the first night of the festival, which is Friday night. Rides were usually discounted and attracted teens from around the area and the joke was that you rode at your own risk the first night since the rides were just put together.
Last year there were several incidents that took place on opening night. Several people were hurt in fights that broke out. One female was arrested. This year the Elk Grove Police Department is requiring the carnival operator increase security and there will be more police officers on scene as well.
Elk Grove Laguna News contacted Elk Grove Police Department Public Information Officer Jason Jimenez to find more about the security measures that will be implemented.
Western Festival shall submit an event security plan to the police department by April 11th, 2018 for review. Any changes required by the police department must be abided by. The Western Festival shall appoint a single contact person as the carnival manager, who shall be involved in the drafting of the security plan and ongoing event coordination with the police department. The carnival manager must be on site during the evening carnival hours to act as a contact person and coordinator for ensuring that these regulations and the security plan are abided by.
Friday night carnival hours shall be from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM. All rides and concessions shall close by 8:00 PM, and guests shall be proactively advised by security to vacate the park.
A minimum of one security officer and one police officer shall be staffed at each entrance point to enforce these entry regulations. The staffed police officer shall not collect parking fees, nor provide general enforcement of regulations. The role of the police officer is to act as a visual deterrent, and to enforce regulations if Western Festival staff or security is unable to handle.
The entire carnival and concession area shall be enclosed with 6’ chain link fencing, with no more than two dedicated entrances. The entrance(s) shall be controlled, and staffed by Western Festival staff and security. No person under the age of 18 shall be permitted to enter the fenced carnival area without a carnival ticket.
The Western Festival shall staff a sufficient number of security guards dedicated to working the carnival area. The Western Festival shall hire a specified number of “extra-duty” police officers through the Elk Grove Police Department for Friday evening. The police department will provide a dedicated dispatcher for this event.
A lighting plan must be approved by the police department for any activities taking place in the park after dusk.