Security changes headed to the Arkansas State Fair

Security changes are headed to the Arkansas State Fair. (KATV Photo)

Some major changes are headed to the Arkansas State Fair and most of those changes have to deal with safety.

Concealed carry firearms or weapons of any kind are banned from the state fair and in the past, fair officials have used handheld metal detectors to search patrons when they enter the fairgrounds.

Now, for the first time in the event's history, patrons who attend the state fair will be required to walk through metal detectors.

“We thought this year we should step it up a bit and step up the pace. We were able to find some walk-through metal detectors,” said Ralph Shoptaw, general manager of the Arkansas State Fair.

According to fair officials, they purchased six walk-through metal detectors for $1,500.

“We think it will do two things - it will make the patrons fell safer when they come to the fair but also it will speed up the entry into the fairgrounds,” said Shoptaw.

Not only that, over $700,000 worth of additional lighting has been installed around the property’s parking lots.

Shoptaw says, ultimately, the increased security is their response to the increased crime in Little Rock.

“We are always concerned about the safety of our patrons and community. We want everyone in the community to feel safe and we for sure want them to feel safe when they come to the fairgrounds,” said Shoptaw.

There will also be around 50 private security guards along with local law enforcement around the fair.

The Arkansas State Fair is set to open October 12.

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