TOOELE — Security at large gatherings continues to be a topic of conversation across the country, especially after the shootings in Las Vegas earlier this month.
In light of the shootings, Tooele County Sheriff Paul Wimmer is implementing new safety procedures for the annual Country Fan Fest.
A lot of people attend the three-day festival in July, and it’s an event that’s becoming more popular every year. Thousands of people attend the event at the Deseret Peak Complex.
With larger crowds and in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings, officials have to think more about safety. And that goes beyond making sure there are first-aid kits.
“It scares the life out of me because Vegas, their business is mass gatherings," Wimmer said, "and with that being the case, they’re one of the best prepared in the country for such an event. And little old Tooele, we need to be prepared and take every possible step we can to prevent a massive disaster as what happened in Vegas."
The sheriff said he's been studying the way the Las Vegas Metro Police Department handled the shootings at the country music concert, and he's hoping to use that information to prevent such a tragedy in Tooele County.
“I think you’ve got an agency of heroes there,” he said. “And little old Tooele, we need to be prepared and take every possible step we can.”
Wimmer said he's looking to do three things: have an armored vehicle near the venue to help protect people; bring in observation towers for deputies to post up in; and make sure rooftops and other high places nearby are cleared.Comment on this story
“I just want to be confident that we are clearing our building tops, anywhere someone could get a position of elevation,” he said.
Wimmer said there haven’t been any threats to the Country Fan Fest.
“We all run the risk of something similar happening to what occurred in Vegas, and we’re all just scrambling to take steps to mitigate that,” he said.
The sheriff also wants people to know that safety is important to him.
“I think our situation is very, very different than Vegas,” Wimmer said, “but we still take steps in making sure we’re doing all we can.”