Law Enforcement engaging at the Kentucky State Fair
For most fairgoers, the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville is about prize-winning ham, rides on the midway, exciting concerts and farm animals galore.
But for Kentucky law enforcement, it’s an opportunity to educate, recruit and have a little fun.
Of course, with crowds reaching more than 600,000 over the course of 11 days, it’s all fun and games until a child is lost or a criminal incident occurs. Already this year, law enforcement has had to adapt fair rules regarding juveniles following an active-shooter scare.
KSP Lt. Bobby Motley has worked enforcement at the fair for 20 years. He said the agency details about 40 troopers to work three shifts around the clock from Thursday when the gates open until the lights go out on the last Sunday.
“It’s all about what you can do for the public,” Motley said. “If something isn’t right, we fix it.”
The Kentucky State Police have been working the fair since 1949. The agency responsible for enforcement at the fair, KSP also hosts a large exhibit inside the Kentucky Exposition Center.
“Every year since  it has partnered with the Kentucky State Fair to present public safety messages that included highway safety, drug awareness, child safety, and internet and social media safety,” KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said in a press release.
This year’s Safety Town includes a tricycle-driving track surrounded by scaled-down buildings and traffic signals to teach children about road safety. KSP also displayed their seatbelt safety and drug education trailers.
Safety Town is located in the south wing of the Exposition Center and is flanked by several other law enforcement organizations sharing their messages.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office takes advantage of the opportunity to sell raffle tickets to support the Kentucky Sheriffs’ Association Boys and Girls Ranch, a summer camp for underprivileged children. This year’s raffle is for a John Deere Gator, or a cash prize option of $15,000, said JCSO Reserve Deputy Dennis Benson.
JCSO also provides a child fingerprinting service, talks to fairgoers about becoming a deputy and entertains guests with its animatronic K-9, Brownie, who drives around the fair in his miniature JCSO police cruiser.
“The dog will talk to kids about whatever they want to talk about,” said JCSO Reserve Deputy Jack Griffin. “Somebody is monitoring the conversation. He can hear what the kids are saying and is interacting back with them.”
Children can also climb into a police helicopter to check out all its gears and buttons, and learn how officers utilize the aircraft from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Volunteers in Police Service. Additionally, the department has displayed a cruiser and its K-9 unit. LMPD K-9 Officer Jeremiah Nimmo spoke to fair guests Monday about donating to the Louisville Metro Police K-9 Unit’s Memorial, a monument that will honor dogs who have served the agency and since passed away.
“We have acquired enough to make a payment to get it started,” Nimmo said.
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the FBI Louisville office and a few other federal law enforcement organizations are also at the fair to welcome guests. The 2019 fair ends Aug. 25.