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Sheriff relieved calm returned to the Olmsted County Fair

"I think the fair kind of returned to where we want it to be as a fun place for families to get together and do all the fun things that a fair should be," Olmsted County Sheriff's Capt. James Schueller said.

Olmsted County Fair
Molly Gulden-Prairie and her son Henrik, 3, of Byron, play a game during the Olmsted County Fair on Friday, July 29, 2022, at Graham Park in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The Olmsted County Fair was much calmer this year, according to Olmsted County Sheriff's Capt. James Schueller.

Some of changes made included moving amusement rides, putting up fencing and requiring juveniles to wear a wristband or be accompanied by an adult, according to Schuller who said his office had 53 deputies working through the week who put in 682 hours.

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Last year, rowdy behavior among youths plagued the Olmsted County Fair, resulting in the early closure of the midway and carnival rides.

“We have had issues in the past with people that come to the fair with the intent of, for whatever reason, not having to follow any rules and/or encroaching on everybody else’s freedom to have fun, and creating some kind of fear or alarm by acting out,” Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson told the Post Bulletin last year. “But in previous years, we would arrest or trespass people, and tell them they could not return.”

In 2022, law enforcement worked with the Fair Board and partnered with Rochester's Community Engagement Response Team to help smooth out potential issues. Most of the seven disturbances tracked by the Sheriff's Office were handled by CERT members, according to Schueller.

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"They were out there walking along with law enforcement and just had a presence out there interacting with the fair goers," Schueller said. "When we did have some of these disturbances or disorderlies, the CERT team just stepped in and were phenomenal."

No arrests were made by law enforcement this year, though four people were trespassed, there were five medical calls and at least one call for an intoxicated person.

"I think the fair kind of returned to where we want it to be as a fun place for families to get together and do all the fun things that a fair should be," Schuller said.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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