(This story was originally published July 27.)By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Tuesday morning, the Ramsey County Board approved an official Minnesota State Fair security plan. The vote comes after the State Fair disbanded its independent police department earlier this year, saying they wanted to work with outside resources.

It’s called the most comprehensive security detail the State Fair has ever had, and it was approved in a unanimous board vote. Part of the plan includes metal detectors at entrances, for the first time.

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The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency. Sheriff Bob Fletcher says this partnership makes the most sense since they have the largest number of resources and it will not impact patrolling the rest of Ramsey County.

The State Fair doubled their budget this year for security from around $2 million in years past to more than $4 million this year. That money will be used to pay 200 full-time and part-time Ramsey County deputies who commit to the fair patrol, as well as several other security measures.

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“Things have changed. We’re in a violence trend right now, and so we have an obligation to make it as safe as possible. But (there’s) the addition of the State Patrol at the gates, metal detectors at the gates, private security at the gates, ambassadors on the grounds — they’ve enhanced their camera system tenfold, it’s going to be much better for us in terms of surveillance — and a larger contingent of law enforcement officers,” Fletcher said.

The “ambassadors” mentioned by Fletcher are on hand simply for de-escalation if needed.

The metal detectors will be a simple walk through, with no accompanying bag check. But because of this change, Fletcher says it will be a slower process walking into the fairgrounds, so people should be aware of that before they arrive and plan for a wait.

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Tickets are already on sale for the 2021 State Fair.

Marielle Mohs