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Pipe Bomb Gives Fair Organizers "Additional Consideration" for Security

Updated: Tuesday, August 5 2014, 10:47 AM CDT

ILLINOIS -- Thousands of people will stream into the fairgrounds over the coming week-and-a-half through a dozen different gates.

One or more of them could potentially be the same person or persons who left a pipe bomb downtown last week.

State fair organizers say they haven't received any threats, but last week's bomb scare did prompt a security meeting today. They say security is a big priority.

The pipe bomb was found Monday evening outside of Brewhaus pub on Washington Street.

"It looked like somebody knew what they were doing," said Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad member, Sgt. Rick Beaty.

Springfield Police say there are no updates in the search for a suspect, though they continue their investigation with the help of the ATF, FBI and Secretary of State Police.

State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick isn't unduly worried.

"We're very confident, and very happy with the safety precautions that we have in place for the Illinois State Fair," she said.

The Illinois State Police are the ones charged with security inside the fair, and they bring in troopers from around the state for 24/7 security. District 9 Commander Capt. Scott Compton wouldn't give a number of troopers, only that its "more than dozens, less than hundreds" per shift.

But they're still far outnumbered by fair goers.

"It's obvious that we don't search each person, each bag, each vehicle, but we do have protocols in place for the officers and the ticket personnel as well," Compton said.

Neither Bliefnick nor Compton would say if the pipe bomb forced them to beef up security.

"Not to say that it hasn't caused additional consideration," Compton said, "but it hasn't been something we don't prepare for anyways."

In the Food-a-Rama, where hundreds of diners are apt to gather at any one time, the Guzzardo family, who run three food stands there, isn't worried about the recent pipe bomb scare.

"State fairgrounds have a lot of security that you don't see that are walking around," said John Guzzardo. "No, we feel extremely safe out here. We've never really had any problems in 44 years."

For the Brown family, who made their way up from Paris, TX - a pipe bomb isn't going to deter them.

"Be as vigilant as you can and go on with your life," said Kay Brown. "You can't let fear rule you."

Vigilance is the cornerstone of the state police's plan, too.

"Again, if they see something, say something," Compton said of fair goers. "Their safety is our utmost importance."

Compton said ISP will have dogs on the fairgrounds, but they are not explosive-sniffing dogs. If that kind of threat came in, they would be able to get help from the Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad and their dogs.

Pipe Bomb Gives Fair Organizers "Additional Consideration" for Security


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