First responders step up patrols for National Cherry Festival

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A Traverse City Police Department vehicle parked at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mi.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) — With large crowds at the National Cherry Festival comes more risk. Meaning more boots on the ground for law enforcement.

“We have units that are walking around on foot, we have marine people out on the bay, we have two motor units from downstate that we brought up here,” said First Lieutenant Frank Keck of the Michigan State Police.

With local, county and state police on scene, festival safety is all about teamwork.

“I mean we started planning this two or three months ago ourselves," Keck said. "Working with the city police department, and they’re kinda the lead on this. It’s their city.”

While the police coordinate to handle security, other groups contribute medical help.

“We staff up on special events, North Flight staffs up,” said Keith Fritz of the Traverse City Fire Department, which is on scene during the festival using their mobile Rescue-6 car.
“It’s been used it a few times," added Fritz. "For the air shows it was used, for the parades we have people on it for standby.”

Most of the medical issues so far have been weather related. So while first responders have to plan ahead, in the hot sun, festival goers do too.

“The biggest thing is being prepared," said Fritz. "Making sure you have access water, drinking lots of fluids, taking breaks if you need to.”

While there have been a few alcohol related incidents for law enforcement, First Lieutenant Keck says it’s been so far so good.

“These people are just up here having fun," Keck said. "The number of people actually causing issues is fairly small. It’s been a good Cherry Festival so far.”