Highway Patrol is at the Kansas State Fair educating the public and acting as security
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KAKE) - “We don't want children scared of us. We want them to run to us anytime there's harm or danger and be comfortable in those situations,” said Trooper Chad Crittenden at the Kansas Highway Patrol building on Kansas State Fairgrounds.
A steady crowd of people hopeful to learn and ask questions go in and out of the Highway Patrol building during the fair.
“A lot of people want to know about our brand new cars that we have out here. A lot of people want to know how many people we arrest every year and how fast our cars go,” said Trooper Chad Crittenden.
During the fair, the Kansas Highway Patrol has between 35 and 50 officers from all across the state on the fairgrounds. In addition to acting as security, the officers educate the public, and try to build community relationships during the weeks of the fair.
“A lot of times parents may joke around and tell kids certain things or ‘you might want to put your seat belt on or that police officer is going to take you to jail.’ Well, that's not what we want,” said Crittenden.
Amanda Garriott’s son celebrated his 5th birthday at the fair and he was excited to meet the troopers and take a picture with mom riding in a brand new patrol car.
“One of the officers came over and let him wear one of the hats and get his picture taken in the car. And she wished him a happy, it's his birthday today, wished him a happy birthday. And we just really appreciate what they do.” said Garriott.
Kids can also try on child-sized highway patrol uniforms and have their picture taken.
“We've gotten a bunch of smaller patrol uniforms that kids can try on our hats or shirts, and jump in our cars. We've got our small parade car out front so they can take photos and ride with us. So a lot of good opportunities to meet a lot of troopers from all over the state as well,” said Crittenden.
Highway patrol also works to locate separated parents and children during the fair, and they advise parents to take a picture of their child and their outfit before entering the fairgrounds so their child can be easily identified if they get separated.
“If I was ever in a situation, I would definitely appreciate them coming to my rescue. And so I think just being able to respect what they do, and appreciate it, because one day we might need their help,” said Garriott.
Additionally, if you need any help on the way to or from the fair, or anytime, Highway Patrol says to dial *47 and that will connect you to dispatch who can send out an officer to assist in the event of a flat tire, or any other roadside assistance situations.