Security change for Pitt County Fair after fights, guns seen at last year’s event

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 2:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:57 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - There’s a change in who will be providing security at this year’s Pitt County Fair after the event had to shut down early last year due to fights and gun concerns.

The fair, in its 102nd year, opens tonight at 5:00 p.m. and for the first time in recent memory, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office will not be providing security for the event.

Last year, the fair shut down after deputies stopped a fight among teenagers, one of whom had a loaded gun. Deputies said three teens were arrested. There were also reports of another teen flashing a gun on the grounds.

There were other fights at the fairgrounds, and deputies sought help from co-workers not on fair duty as well as Greenville police officers.

Sheriff Paula Dance said they gave a beefed-up security proposal to the fair back on November 10th of last year and said they never heard back.

Fair manager Ken Ross told WITN they decided to go with a private security firm this year, adding Pitt County is not providing security because the sheriff told him deputies were afraid to work at the fair.

“That statement is unequivocally false,” said Sheriff Dance.

Instead, Dem Boyz Security will be providing security for the event. CEO ‘Bam Bam’ Phillips said there will be guards at each gate and patrols will be doing security around the fair. He said there would also be walk-in metal detectors and a staff of 30 people.

Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lee Darnell says last year, the sheriff’s office was invoiced $15,671.88 for its work.

Phillips would not share how much his security team was paid this year.

The fair runs through Sunday.

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