PUEBLO – Since the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction over the fairgrounds at the Colorado State Fair, it’s up to a select group of deputies to patrol the area 24-hours a day.
Deputies actually use their vacation time to strictly focus on this task, but they also enjoy getting a chance to get to know the folks at the fair, too.
Deputy Ben Martinez has been using his vacation days to come to the Colorado State Fair for the past 18 years.
But, he’s still on duty here.
While agencies like Pueblo Police Department mostly patrol the perimeter outside the fairgrounds, the agency in charge of responding to anything inside the fairgrounds is the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re keeping the inside of the fairgrounds safe and secure,” said Deputy Martinez.
Although these deputies get paid for keeping the fairgrounds safe, they say interacting with the crowds is rewarding all on its own.
“They do pay us and everything is great on that but it’s for the people, that’s what we’re here for is to serve each and every one coming out,” Martinez added.
“We put them before us each and every day and we’re out here to make it safe and friendly and family-oriented for them.”
Deputies work morning, night and graveyard shifts.
Depending on the size of the crowds, there can be more than a dozen deputies on the fairgrounds at any given time – outnumbering the number of officers.
“I’ve got great deputies that, you know, they’re more on the social side,” said Laurie Ward, Watch Commander with Colorado State Fair Police.
“But they take their work very serious.”
Some serious calls they’ve responded include disorderly conduct due to alcohol consumption, even domestic violence incidents.
But these deputies are also here to help with other things.
“If they need directions, if they need to find someplace to eat, get a good cold drink or where the entertainment is, they just ask us,” Martinez remarked.
“And we can direct them where they need to go.”
Serving this community in any capacity is what they’re here to do.
“I love being in front of people, talking to them, having fun with them, making sure that they’re good and safe and everything is going good for them,” Martinez said when describing why he works at the fair year after year.
He added, “If i can be a friend to somebody, that makes my day.”
The Colorado State Fair Police tell News 5 they don’t expect a large crowd Monday beyond the morning hours.
Just as a reminder, Monday is the last day the fair will be open and hours will run from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.