ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A larger police presence is expected at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta as record crowds and a record number balloons are expected for this year’s milestone 50th event. Fiesta safety officials and local law enforcement addressed their safety plans at a news conference Thursday morning, saying more police will be clearly “noticeable” to Fiesta-goers.
“When people see the amount [of police] that are going to be out there, I want people to understand that it’s just because the day and age that we live in,” Balloon Fiesta’s Public Safety Director Sean Wallace said Thursday. “There are no credible threats against Fiesta.”
Wallace declined to say exactly how many more officers will be at the event, due to safety concerns. As similar to past events, security at the Fiesta will be run by a consortium of private, local, state and federal law enforcement. Albuquerque Police, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police are expected to comprise most of the increased police presence.
This year, New Mexico State Police will also be increasing the number of “Tag Your Tots” stations. The police-run program allows parents to create a unique wrist band for kids to wear, which contains their parents contact information.
Fiesta’s law enforcement director, Sean Wallace said Thursday another change is surrounding firearms. Wallace says there will be no firearms allowed on Balloon Fiesta Park property “unless you’re an on duty police officer.”
“If you are concealed carry or an off duty police officer, don’t bring [a gun],” Wallace said. “We have an increased number of officers on site, and we just feel like it would be detrimental to the response if we have individual that are off duty trying to responds to an incident that may occur.”
Looking for more Fiesta news and information? Check out KRQE News 13’s Fiesta news page, at krqe.com/balloonfiesta