Farmington police are on patrol at the fair
For a few of Farmington's police officers, keeping the peace doesn't stop at the community's borders.
Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist and officers Cassie Johnson, Steve Kuyper and Jason Amundson are putting in a few extra hours now through Labor Day. They're all working public safety at the Minnesota State Fair.
They're all on foot patrol, which means they walk sections of the fairgrounds with one or two more officers for the entirety of their shifts. It's a long day of walking, but all of them keep going back year after year.
Lindquist has been working at the state fair for at least a decade. He started back when Dan Siebenaler was still Farmington's police chief. At the time, Siebenaler had been a member of the Minnesota State Fair's public safety staff for a few years - he, too, is out on foot patrol at the 2012 state fair - and the fair needed a few extra officers to come on board for the overnight shift. Siebenaler asked Lindquist if he was interested, and Lindquist said yes.
The rest is history. Lindquist worked overnights for a while, then worked security at the grandstand for a few years. He's been on foot patrol for the past few years.
"I love it," Lindquist said. "I can't wait for (the fair) to get here. Then I had the first two days because my feet hurt."
One of the things that makes it fun to work at the state fair is working with other officers in the field, Lindquist said. The Minnesota State Fair pulls in hundreds of police officers, county sheriff's deputies and even state troopers to work during the 12-day run of the fair.
"You typically don't see any of them until we get back here," he said.
For the most part, the police just maintain a presence around the fairgrounds. Things like the stabbing that happened Sunday on the fairgrounds are very isolated events, Lindquist said. Most of the time, officers are asked to provide directions or help locate missing children. On occasion, they have to assist on medicals, as well.
Farmington's work at the state fair on their own time, Lindquist said. Lindquist works his day shift in Farmington, then comes out to do his shift at the fair in the evening. Other officers come out on their days off. Some of them only work a couple of shifts, but those who really enjoy the work take seven to eight shifts every year, Lindquist said.
"Once you get started, it's hard to stop. It gets in your blood," he said.