DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Stationed in booths throughout the State Fair of Texas are members of the State Fair Safety Team.
And if they look like guest relations, that’s part of the job description.READ MORE: Nigerian National Sobanke Idris Sunday Adereti Guilty Of Elder Fraud Related Violations
“I’m asked, ‘Where are the restrooms? How do I find Big Tex? Where are the food stands?'” said Safety Team Member Kenny Sowell.
But all 75 team members are actually retired police officers.
Sowell is a former Dallas Police Lieutenant who served 31 years on the force.
“I’ve been retired 2 and a half years. We’ve got some officers that retired 20 years ago, and they just enjoy what they do,” he said.READ MORE: Woman Hit, Killed By Car While Walking In Grapevine Roadway; Drunk Driver Crashes Into Firetruck On Scene Say Police
The Safety Team was born after the 2019 Fair, when the security team decided to reexamine its allocation of security resources.
Sworn police officers used to man the booths.
“A police officer affixed to a stand really only has an operational area around that stand, and we thought that there would be a better way to utilize that resource in a more policing role, and then we could replace them with another asset,” said Director of Security Jeff Cotner.
Now the sworn officers can roam, in and outside of the fair grounds, and handle situations if they arise.
“We want to be good stewards with the public’s resources, and they’re out there in these better roles where they’re walking around within geographic zones,” Cotner said.
The security team members can easily access the officers via radio if necessary. And, in addition to being another layer of safety for the Fair, it also gives back to retirees like Sowell.MORE NEWS: Report: At Least 59,000 Meat Workers Caught COVID, 269 Died
“Just a chance to work and see officers that I haven’t seen in years, it’s been wonderful. It really has,” he said.