GEDDES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York State will allow off-duty police officers to carry weapons at the State Fair, as they always were, just 24 hours after they were told they’d no longer be allowed to enter with their guns.
A spokesperson for the New York State Fair confirmed the clarification to NewsChannel 9, several hours after the interim director of the State Fair personally called the Onondaga County Sheriff with the update.
“The bottom line here is that we have many, many police officers who obviously all have training and are very proficient in firearms. Of course, we hope we never have to use them, but the reality of this situation is, is that we have seen too many mass casualties at mass gatherings. How do we best address it? I think it’s always best if you have more law enforcement present, whether off duty or on duty than less.”
Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway
The controversy began Tuesday when the State Police informed Central New York police departments about a change that would remove an exemption that previously allowed off-duty officers to bring their guns onto the State Fairgrounds.
Members of law enforcement were told the policy change was due to a new weapons detection system that will be installed at all of the gates for this year’s fair.
It’s believed that off-duty law enforcement will have to enter through a separate gate this year, but those details are still being worked out.
Guns are still not allowed for visitors who are not members of law enforcement.
“The Fair’s long-standing policy on carrying firearms on the fairgrounds has not changed. The Fair has reached out to the law enforcement community to make sure there is a clear understanding of the policy and how it is being implemented. We look forward to welcoming our men and women in uniform and all New Yorkers to enjoy the Great New York State Fair this year.”NYS Fair Spokesperson
The Fair is planning what organizers call the most enhanced security measures ever, but a spokesperson declined to comment about specifics due to their sensitive nature.