SACRAMENTO -- The California State Fair begins Friday night and with it, Cal Expo police are assuring the public they won’t tolerate any fights.
Over the years the State Fair has had its share of security problems, with everything from shootings & stabbings to group brawls.
But now, in his second year on the job, the Cal Expo Police Chief says the number of arrests has actually gone down.
Fair organizers say with more than 80,000 people expected on any given night, the crime rate is comparatively low.
But there is a bad reputation at the fair that Cal Expo police are working hard to repair.
“People that violate our code of conduct are escorted off our grounds,” said Chief Everest Robillard, Cal Expo police.
On the fair’s opening night in 2018, shots were fired across the street and around 50 people were kicked out after several fights.
Cell phone video captured group brawls in 2017, and 2016. Fights occurred in 2010, A stabbing in ‘03, and shootings in ‘05 & ‘06.
“It is a very small percentage and I think the most recent arrest stats show that,” Robillard said.
Robillard says the fair is safe, pointing to the numbers which show arrests are dropping in recent years.
In 2010 there were 93 arrests; last year, there were just 13, down from 45 in 2017.
“I’m pleased with the direction that we’re going in. Our new techniques seem to be working,” Robillard stated. “we’ve added on extra security guards; we have a full complement of officers.”
Chief Robillard took FOX40 behind the scenes, showing us his onsite dispatch center, his booking room and he showed us where his staff will be monitoring more than 200 surveillance cameras around the fairgrounds.
“We’re prepared,” the chief stated.
In a worst-case scenario, they do have holding cells for anyone who’s causing too much trouble. But they say that last year they didn’t even need to use them.
Chief Robillard hopes to have an uneventful fair this year, but if there is trouble, he says his department will be ready.
And he has this message for anyone looking to start a fight: “please, go elsewhere.”
You might have thought that most of the arrests at the fair last year were teenagers, well you’d be wrong.
Cal Expo police say that 92% of arrests last year were adults. The number one offense: being drunk in public.