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More cell towers at State Fair to improve safety

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Updated: 9/26/2013 11:07 pm Published: 9/26/2013 10:33 pm

Parents who have tried to get a hold of their kids at the Tulsa State fair but have found the phone lines were jammed.

It's been a problem before, and this year fairgoers may notice it’s easier to use cellphones at the Tulsa State Fair.

Cellphone companies added towers to improve communication for law enforcement and fairgoers.

"My husband is home right now and half of the time I can't get a hold him and he can't get a hold of me," said Amber Cooper.

She and other fairgoers like to share photos from their cellphones.

"I like to post pictures on Facebook," said Sarah McKinley.

However, in years past it's been tough to get service on the Midway.

"Text messaging is the best; you really can't make a call, there is just too many people," said McKinley.

This is not only frustrating for parents but for law enforcement.

"It has been something we have complained about for years," said Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Major Shannon Clark. "The cellphone reception is horrible."

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office runs the state fair, and when trying to get a hold of a parent when they find a lost child can be tough when there is not enough cell towers to make a call.

"It's a safety issue for patrons at the fair," said Clark.

Deputies use their radios but also need their cellphones to share sensitive information.

"We have confidential information we can't put over the radios," said Clark.

At the request of the Sheriff's Office, cellphone companies added more towers on the Midway.

"We haven't been here long enough, but I haven't had any problems yet," said McKinley.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 9/26/2013 11:22 PM
1 Vote
Last year it was discovered that the sheriff's department would shut off cell service to the entire fairgrounds when fights broke out, to keep people from texting friends or streaming video. This is a well documented tactic by law enforcement which has been used to disrupt Occupy protests, and even during Obama's inauguration.
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