Arkansas State Fair Upgrading Security, Adding Metal Detectors

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In Ralph Shoptaw's mind, the wheels are always spinning with new ways to make the Arkansas State Fair better.

"We've been concerned about our security for awhile," says Shoptaw, the Fair's General Manager.

He says this year, each visitor will walk through a metal detector.

Arkansas State Fair Security Lieutenant BJ Beck says there will be six metal detectors. The fair purchased four and will be renting the other two.

"It's just like going through the airport," says Beck.

Beck says it could help get people through the fair entrance faster, however, if the metal detector activates the visitor will be wanded.

It's not he only security upgrades Shoptaw is making this year. Fair officials have purchased several homes across from the grounds and demolished them, turning them into parking lots.

"I think there's less places for people to hide if they're doing something they shouldn't be doing," says Shoptaw.

Shoptaw says he's making the major security improvements because of recent violence in Little Rock.

"In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking about what could happen," he says.

Shoptaw says he wants people to feel safe inside the fair, despite the increase in violence outside.

"With all this that's been going on lately with all the homicides we just feel like we need a little bit--need to step it up a bit," says Shoptww.

The State Fair works with Little Rock Police, Pulaski County Sheriff's and Arkansas State Police during the event.

The fair kicks off a day early this year on Thursday, October 12th.

Click here for more information about this year's fair.

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