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Security at WE Fest - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Security at WE Fest

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 WE Fest is a 32 year old event that organizers say is the largest outdoor country concert in the world. A big concert calls for a large security force.

"Everybody has their area that they take care of and it works well," says Sheriff Shannon Kelly.

WE Fest security staff handles the campgrounds. Minnesota State Patrol and Becker County Sheriff Deputies monitor the highways and the concert grounds along with any disturbances. Officers are brought in from across the state to assist with the thousands of concert goers and partiers.

"We kind of known over the years where the trouble spots are and we can saturate them before they get out of control," says Becker County Chief Deputy John Sieling.  

In addition to extra officers, the sheriff's department has its own communications dispatch center. This allows all the law enforcement agencies involved to communicate with one another. It also has cameras that allow police to zoom-in and see what's going on, should a fight or some other trouble arise.

WE Fest officials say they have 5,000 employees, but they won't talk about the size of their security force or share much about how it works. The Becker County Sheriff says the combined efforts of all involved are doing a better job of keeping people safe.

"It is a lot safer than what people realize, sure there is a few incidents out there. When you get 70,000 people it has turned into a city over night," says Sheriff Kelly.  

The Becker County Sheriff's office uses each year as a learning experience to improve security for the next. WE Fest officials say Thursday night, they had a record crowd and expect more record crowds Friday and Saturday.

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