Staffing shortage has Wake County Sheriff’s Office leaning on almost 20 other agencies for state fair

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Hundreds of members of law enforcement work at the North Carolina State Fair each year. They direct traffic, provide security, and patrol the fairgrounds. Shortages at many departments around Raleigh and Wake County made finding enough officers more of a challenge.

The fair reached out to departments further out.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office, the lead agency at the fair, said it usually relies on five agencies. This year it’s 19. Those departments are further out like the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office and Bertie County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re glad to be able to be here and do our part,” Dunn Police Chief Clark White said.

“Help anybody who has questions or watch for children that may have wandered off from their parents and any type of criminal activity,” White explained.

He said his department usually helps at the fair. This year he hasn’t been able to provide the same level of staffing. He just doesn’t have enough officers.

CBS 17 has been reporting on staffing shortages at local law enforcement agencies for months.

“We use many agencies to put together the law enforcement personnel to serve the fair and some of those agencies didn’t have as many to offer this year as many hours to give,” Kent Yelverton, the NC State Fair Director said.

He said they have mutual aid agreements in place and that they were glad to step up.

“All the officers have the same training as the officers that have been here in the past. They’re all following procedures that we put together as the fair,” Yelverton said.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said they’ve had to get creative.

“Some of our court operation officers, when they get done with court today, you’ll see them,” he said.

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