ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Amidst the hundreds of thousands who showed up for the state fair this year, police say many were criminals and the number of those who came face to face with police is high. So is the fair satisfied with just how safe it is?
More than 400,000 people walked the grounds of the New Mexico State Fair this September.
“I think overall we had an extremely successful fair this year,” said Michael Henningsen, spokesman for New Mexico EXPO.
But with all those people, there was some trouble at this year's fair, too. In fact, Albuquerque Police says nearly 200 people were either cited or arrested over the 12 days they patrolled the event. APD says 139 people were cited at the fair this year. Twenty people were arrested for either misdemeanor or felony crimes and in all, police talked to 295 people about possible crimes taking place.
“Public safety is our number one goal, to keep the fair safe for New Mexico's families,” said Henningsen.
While the numbers might sound big, ultimately state fair reps say they encourage it and see the numbers as a job well done.
“It says that the fair is extremely safe and that law enforcement agencies, all of the different ones that we work with are doing their jobs,” said Henningsen.
An example of one of those cases is the arrest of convicted felon 42-year-old Rebecca Gould. She was arraigned in court shortly before the fair ended.
“Her criminal history is out of California. It includes three misdemeanors, all of them convicted, 17 felonies with three known convictions,” said a criminal background investigator commenting on Gould’s record.
Gould was arrested while working the goldfish booth in the Midway for allegedly possessing meth in her purse. Fair officials say her arrest shows the level of tighter security that's gone into the event.
“Just the fact that we're able to sniff that stuff out in a variety of different ways, plain clothes, uniforms,” said Henningsen.
So why not just stop booth workers who have prior convictions? While the fair checks the backgrounds of vendors, those vendors are in charge of looking at booth employees' backgrounds themselves.
“We encourage them and it’s up to them to make sure that those people are vetted as well,” said Henningsen.
In comparison to last year, New Mexico Expo says the level of criminal activity at the fair is about the same. APD’s VICE cops arrested 131 people in areas around fair last year for crimes including prostitution, soliciting a prostitute and drug possession. Outside the fairgrounds this year, APD cops also arrested two people for car break-in's and one person for stealing.
The name of the man killed in a deadly winter weather-related crash has been released.
Mugshots from local New Mexico authorities from December 2013.
Ice and fog shut down both U.S. Highway 82 and U.S. 285 in southeastern New Mexico late Saturday afternoon with no indication of when they will reopen.
Last weekend, protesters in Taos rallied against the actions of a State Police officer. Now supporters plan their own rally
A correctional officer is recovering after he says he was brutally attacked while on duty by an inmate at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center.
After a solid win versus Rio Grande rival NMSU earlier in the week, the Lobos continue their tough play defeating Cincinnati 63-54.