Balloon Fiesta will have enhanced security

September 30 – Record crowds are expected for this year’s 50th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and alongside that there will be a much larger presence of security and law enforcement officials, as well as a presence increased number of firefighters and rescue workers.

During a safety briefing at Balloon Fiesta Park on Thursday, fiesta officials declined to provide exact numbers, but said the increase would be ‘noticeable’ and would involve members of city, county offices , state and federal government.

“One of the things that we’ve looked at throughout the year, based on different things that’s happened in the United States and around the world, is people doing bad things at events. on a massive scale,” said Sean Wallace, the party’s director of public safety. .

Concealed firearms will not be permitted on Balloon Fiesta Park by anyone other than law enforcement officers on duty. Knives with a blade longer than 3 inches are also prohibited, Wallace said.

People entering the park will have to go through a metal detector. Purses and backpacks will be searched, but those with clear bags and backpacks will pass faster.

Although alcohol is sold through vendors in the park, the public cannot bring alcohol from outside. They can carry food and other drinks, but not in glass containers. Trolleys, folding chairs and blankets will also be allowed but will be subject to a search on entry, he said. The only animals allowed in the park will be service animals.

The New Mexico State Police will again operate the Tag Your Tots program, and this year there will be multiple sign-up locations at the park, Deputy Chief Matt Broom said. Children will receive a wristband with contact information that can be used in case a child gets lost. He also encouraged families to identify adult visitors who may have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue will be on hand to regularly inspect vendor booths, ensure fire codes are enforced, keep fire lanes clear for emergency vehicles, and have fire suppression crews available. strategically placed throughout the park, Deputy Fire Chief Kris Romero said. AFR staff will also work with Lovelace Hospital medical professionals on site to provide emergency medical services.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales said the deputies will be engaged in traffic control and have a field presence, and Albuquerque’s deputy police chief. Mike Meisinger said commuters should not park on roadsides or in company parking lots to watch the balloons, or leave valuables in their vehicles when parking.

He also reminded the public that the use of the camera and other drones is restricted within a 4 mile radius of the park.

Balloon Fiesta Special Section

Online Friday and printed in the Saturday Albuquerque Journal. You can also pick up your souvenir journal at the Journal booth, #79, at the Balloon Fiesta.