Due to problematic incidents reportedly occurring at the St. Mary’s Polish Fair, held annually on Memorial Day weekend, Orchard Lake police are seeking the use of Oakland County Sheriff’s Department reserves as backup at the event.
“We are soliciting officers from different departments like the (sheriff’s department) to work the event,” said Orchard Lake Police Chief Fred Rosenau. “We will be using the Mounted Division that will provide a larger police presence.”
St. Mary’s will be assuming the costs. Though the sheriff’s department won’t contract with private entities such as the school, Orchard Lake will contract on its behalf. The cost will exceed $20,000, according to Rosenau.
The contract was endorsed by the Oakland County Board of Commissioner’s Public Services Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 25 and has been forwarded to the county board’s Finance Committee.
Oakland County Commissioner Jim Runestad (R-Waterford, White Lake) said he doesn’t anticipate any snags in having the measure pass the full Board of Commissioners.
“It’s a standard contract and I don’t perceive any problems,” he said.
Despite several attempts to mitigate problems, such as erecting new fencing and implementing security checkpoints, trouble-makers haven’t been deterred and subsequently a series of crimes have reportedly occurred at recent fair events, including one felonious assault with a motor vehicle and three non-aggravated assaults. There were also a trio of malicious damage of property reports filed.
Moreover, eight suspects were arrested for disorderly conduct or fighting, and three people were incarcerated for possession of intoxicants. Five misdemeanor arrests for driving with a suspended license were also reported.
Alternative safety measures were necessary due to the uptick in incidents that required police intervention during the last few annual fairs.
“The past few years there have been hostilities at the event with groups of kids showing up in the evening hours for no other reason but to disrupt the festivities,” Rosenau said.
Discussions between Rosenau and representatives of the St. Mary’s Mom’s & Dad’s Club have been ongoing for months. The goal is to forge a formal agreement where additional safety nets would be in place prior to the next fair.
“We have been negotiating with the school to get things in place to prevent these types of activities that occurred last year,” Rosenau said.
A representative of the Mom’s and Dad’s Club declined to comment on the issue.
Until certain measures were taken that satisfied Rosenau, the Orchard Lake City Council won’t approve a business license that has been tabled since last year. It’s now scheduled for review again on Feb. 22.
“It appears we’re going to be checking everyone at the entrance gate for weapons and contraband,” Rosenau said.
All patrons will receive an arm band to gain entry, but if someone is caught without the arm band they will be escorted off site or possibly arrested for trespassing, Rosenau said.