Organizations that put on an event and law enforcement agencies realize that community safety is more important than ever during a special event.

We all love attending a fun local shindig. The food, the families and  camaraderie equal good times to be had by all. Organizations that put on an event and law enforcement agencies realize that community safety is more important than ever during a special event. Proactively dealing with and responding to public safety concerns require dedicated planning as well as organizational cooperation and funding.

Year round, in both Belle Plaine and Henderson, there are numerous lively popular events that require the need for additional security. If you watched any of the news recently when President Trump was in Minnesota, you saw how much security that entailed. So, what about our small town local fete, you might be wondering, “Who pays for all of that?”

“Our costs for events are placed with the group or organization that completes the large assembly permit,” Tom Stolee, Chief of Police with the Belle Plaine Police Department, said. “If we provide an officer at our event center, they pay for the time the officer is there assisting with their event. During Bar-B-Q Days, the officers that are working are paid for by the organization Belle Plaine Festivals and Events. For German Day and St. Patrick’s Day, the officers’ time is paid for by the German Day and St. Patrick’s Day committees. We still have officers that work regular shifts during events that are covered by the city.”

Risk factors have become more prevalent in recent years. Risk goes up and price goes up. The priority of public safety during a major local event has become a growing concern. The best way to be prepared is to maintain security and medical personnel. These efforts extend into the community through the relationship networks that make up the fabric of these vital services.

“The Henderson Classic Car Roll-In Committee formed a non-profit back in 2016,” Jeff Steinborn, Communications Director for the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, said.  “To handle the rising costs of hosting this event, the “Historic Henderson Auto Society” uses sponsorships, merchandise sales and donations to pay for security and traffic officer services. The City of Henderson and Henderson Police Dept. help with added police coverage where needed.”

“What I can tell you,” Bruce Kelly, Police Chief for the City of Le Sueur, said, “is that the police officers are paid by the city during these events in Henderson, and the traffic control staff, Reserve Sibley County Deputies, are hired and paid for by the Roll-In Committee.”

The best practices developed by local law enforcement agencies to secure and ensure safety for all these events presents unique security concerns for both local law enforcement officials as well as the communities and organizations behind them. Relatively quite small towns like Belle Plaine and Henderson become inundated with people and traffic because the events are attended by large numbers of outsiders.

“Events like the Renaissance Festival do require traffic control on State Highways 169/41,” Lezlie Vermillion, County Administrator in Scott County, said, “and they do pay for those sheriff deputies’ services.”

The difficult demands of special event security often require the police department to organize and train a special unit. Big productions or events taking place in certain areas may involve the efforts of several departmental units or different local agencies. Therefore, festivals and events which attract thousands of people easily qualify as temporary communities for the purpose of additional policing.

The managerial elements of community policing can be basically applied to its planning and costs constraints. Community development works with and supports law enforcement to proactively identify potential issues and create a climate of safety. This emphasis on problem solving has led to more effective means of addressing security and social disorder problems.

Special events in rural urban areas like Belle Plaine and Henderson are sometimes held on private property. Leadership is shared among the venue owner, private security, and the local police and fire departments. Even when a particular law enforcement agency has the lead and provides most of the resources, assistance from other agencies and organizations is often needed and appreciated.

“We contract for police services at events where we are requested,” Luke Hennen,   Scott County Sheriff, said. “Many of the Belle Plaine events do request our volunteer reserve deputies to assist. These organizations make a donation to our reserve unit in appreciation for the service provided. This group is not funded with any tax levy dollars.”

Local law enforcement is not only concerned with safety and security of participants at these hoedowns but also the economics of the event. All the delightful year-round happenings in Belle Plaine and Henderson involve commerce, have a budget, and help support the local economy.

All these concerns factor into a sponsoring organization’s event planning. The need to recognize the benefits of leveraging resources and collaborating with other organizations is imperative. Involving citizens and the business community in planning efforts helps to ensure that the event continues safely. At the same time, it ensures that the jurisdiction receives necessary law enforcement services, no matter what the size or importance of the event.

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