State Homeland Security Helps Keep Fair Safe - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

State Homeland Security helps keep fair safe

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

At the Mississippi State Fair this year, there are more than just local lawmen providing security.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the state Office of Homeland Security established regional response teams known as Force Protection Units.

The Force Protection Unit is made up of law enforcement officers from all of Mississippi's 82 counties.

When one jurisdiction has a large event that puts an extraordinary burden on the agency, they make one call to the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security. Then, The Force Protection Unit is activated.

"We have agencies from all over the state of Mississippi that have come in to assist us with the 2011 Mississippi State Fair, just as they did back with the St. Paddy's parade. And, in turn, we will do the same thing when they need help, we'll send people to their respective agencies," said Commander Allen White with the Jackson Police Department.

 A tractor-trailer truck is on loan from the Tunica County Sheriff. It's the department's mobile command center and from it, all communication is handled for the special patrol unit.

The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security coordinates the rotation of personnel from outside agencies in and out. OHS also pays the officers' salaries, houses and feeds them.

Twenty-five fresh officers rotated in Thursday for the final weekend of this year's fair.

 "We are actually doing a suppression detail, burglary detail for the Jackson Police Department. We got guys, police officers, in the area around the fair to keep guys from breaking into people's cars while they are trying to enjoy the fair," said Commander Fred Randle with the Force Protection Unit.

The state fair detail will cost OHS about $50,000.

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