Police patrol heavily to keep Water Follies safe

KENNEWICK - When this many people come together, safety is top priority for local police. KEPR tells you which crimes are the most common during boat race weekend, and what police are doing to keep you safe.

It's the line of events you'd all expect. The races, the air show. But you'd never expect violence.

"As the 70's showed up, things got a little wilder out here. There was a lack of crowd control," said attendee Jeff Goldsbury.

Jeff Goldsbury has attended 48 water follies. Even showing me driver signatures from his first years.

He hopes the rowdy days are over.

"I don't really think this is the kind of place people like to hang out because, you know, happy, healthy, wholesome people. Why would they want to come to that area?" asked Goldsbury.

He wants safety. It's a goal he shares with police. Officers patrolled on bikes and ATV's all day long. Neighboring agencies teamed up to tackle the grounds.

"There's nobody paying the tab for this. The city of Kennewick is paying for the Kennewick officers to be here. Richland, Benton County and West Richland, they're all paying the way. No one is reimbursing them," said Kennewick Police Sergeant Ken Lattin.

Last year, Kennewick Police made over 400 officer contacts with follie fanatics. Only eight percent resulted in arrests. And just 11 DUI's were issued over the three days.

Officers tell us patrolling starts here in this parking lot. That means, they're looking for people cracking the cold ones right from their truck."

Officers are on alert this year for marijuana. Smoking in the park could cost you $500.

"If you have it in your pocket and you're over the age of 21, we're not going to worry about it. But if you try and light up, it's going to be an issue," added Sgt. Lattin.

It's a team effort to keep this event safe for everyone.

Officers have also asked beer gardens to stop the alcohol at 4:30 in the afternoon this year. They told us the party lingered a bit too long last year.