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As DeSoto County fair opens, expect more law enforcement presence

Shooting death of teenager at 2023 fair underscores plans for extra staffing
DeSoto County Sheriff's Office Mobile Command Center
Posted at 8:38 PM, Feb 02, 2024

ARCADIA — The Desoto County Fair is going to look different this year.

The sherrif's office stepped up security this year because of the shooting last year at the fair.

The rides are underway and will continue through next weekend.

DeSoto County Sheriff James Potter held a news presser Friday morning laying out what people can expect to see on the fairgrounds.

Last year, Fox 4 showed you video of people at the fair hiding after they heard gun shots. The sheriff's office says then-15-year-old Ryan Watson Jr. shot 17-year-old Daniel Rodriguez Lopez.

So, this year there's a command center that will be on base during the fair. It's meant to serve as a security and safety measure for everyone who plans to come.

A dispatcher will be stationed there.

Law enforcement personnel will also be patrolling different areas of the event.

Parents can voluntarily stop by and grab a colored wrist band for their children at the command post.

A different color will be used every night of the fair. The sheriff said it's a way to ensure kids are reunited with their parents if they get separated.

"It shows the commitment that we have for the folks here in DeSoto County," Sheriff Potter said. "We also want them to be a partner with us as well. If they see some issue or something, they'll know exactly where to go."

This command post is near the Fun Slide.

Potter said the teenager who allegedly shot another young man at the fair last year is still in jail.