Updated: 08/25/2014 7:41 PM
Created: 08/25/2014 7:20 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
Nearly 1.8 million people stop by the Minnesota State Fair every year. A police force of nearly 200 officers protects all 320 acres of the fairgrounds. Forty-seven of those officers are actually reserves, which mean they’re not quite officers yet.
Reserves have been getting an opportunity to gain experience here since 1965. Working the fair is a great chance to network for a future job.
It is non-stop from the time Brittney Zafft clocks in as a reserve officer at the fair until the time she leaves.
Zafft's goal is to be a cop. She's applied to departments as far away as New York Mills and a close as Lakeville. She says the fair is a perfect place to build relationships.
"You get to network with other officers, work side by side with them," she said.
For 12 days, the State Fair Police Department becomes the third largest police department in the state. The force is ranked behind the Minneapolis and St. Paul Police departments during the fair. They have roughly 147 officers from throughout the state. Some of the contributing departments range from Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, Minneapolis and St. Paul to Metro Transit. Plus they have 47 reserve officers who work traffic and gates.
"These are officers who are trying to become police officers. So some of them are post certified and waiting to get offers from departments they applied to. And then the other portion are still in skills which is the program academy for people to get licenses," said Brooke Blakey of the State Fair Police Department.
Daniel Hoesly has a degree in biology but wants to be a cop. He says the fair is a good training ground for what he will eventually face once he's a sworn officer.
"You're dealing with all different situations that you go on and have to act on and you're dealing with a lot of people," he said.
In the past five years, 17 reserve officers have gotten a job at a local department.