MIDDLETON (WKOW) — Organizers expect thousands at Middleton’s three-day Good Neighbor Festival this weekend, and with large crowds, the Middleton Police are preparing for any safety concerns that may arise.
The festival boasts more than 50 years of tradition in Middleton, which is one of the reasons why Rachel Morley said she comes every year.
“It’s something that I remember going to when I was a little kid,” she said. “So it’s a fun memory for me to bring my kids to now.”
Still, even as Morley and her kids make new memories she said she remains on alert at any event that draws a crowd.
“You know that you have to be more on guard and talk to your kids more about safety so that they’re aware more of their safety and surroundings so they can make their own judgements,” she said.
The Middleton Police Department said they take these concerns very seriously, especially at events like this one. Just last week, Sun Prairie’s Sweet Corn Festival ended with a fight, prompting heightened security the next few days. Earlier this summer, Madison Police responded to a shooting at Shake The Lake.
Captain Jeremy Geiszler with Middleton Police said he has no reason to believe something like that would happen in Middleton, but he said his department has trained for it.
“We hope that that’s not going to happen but we are certainly prepared if it does,” he said.
Geiszler said that means maintaining a constant patrol presence.
“Essentially when the grounds are open there will be at least one officer on site and as the night progresses there will be more and more officers there,” he said.
Geiszler said officers will be monitoring the entire festival but devoting extra attention to areas where alcohol is served.
“Our presence hopefully provides a little security and safety,” he said.
Again, he said these steps are all precautionary. Geiszler said the Good Neighbor Festival has a history of well-behaved guests enjoying themselves in a safe manner, and he hopes it will stay that way.
“We’ve been very lucky in that sense,” he said. “This is my 18th Good Nieghbor Festival, and I can’t think of any significant events we’ve had.”
Geiszler said he’s also worked with the festival organizers to ensure volunteers are trained to spot and report anything out of the ordinary in the hopes police can provide a quick response.
In all, he hopes they won’t have to employ their plans but even so he believes their visible presence can put festival-goers at ease.