Fort Wayne Police Say TRF Is Still A Safe Family Friendly Event

By John W. Davis

July 12, 2010 Updated Jul 12, 2010 at 11:22 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - This year's 42nd annual Three Rivers Festival is underway in downtown Fort Wayne at Headwaters Park.

Meanwhile, some people think TRF has a stigma for late night crime.

Fort Wayne Police said that is not the case because they have 35 to 70 officers on duty at all times to keep community members safe.

In the past, unsupervised young people have cause some trouble mostly by fighting.

Fort Wayne Police Deputy Chief Marty Bender said most teenagers and young adults are on their best behavior and have a good time.

However, Bender admits that occasionally, young people as well as people of any age can get out of line.

Deputy Chief Bender said that is when it is the job of police officers to act quickly to keep the public safe.

"So far we haven't had that for quite some time. We feel pretty confident that we got a pretty good plan for protection of the citizens down here," Fort Wayne Police Department Deputy Chief Marty Bender.

Bender went on to say that when he started on the force more than thirty years ago, officers made 50 to 80 arrests a night at the Three Rivers Festival.

Bender cites fewer arrests now.

He said officers only average about nine or ten arrests during the week long festival.

Meanwhile, last summer's festival was marred by a late night pepper spray incident.

When asked about that event, Deputy Chief Bender said that event was blown out of proportion.

He wanted to make it clear that FWPD officers never used any pepper spray.

Bender said it was Indiana State Excise Police that maced suspects and unintentionally sprayed two community members.

Overall, officers still consider TRF a safe, family friendly festival.

They said there should not be any major problems this year.

However, if there are any, they say they will take care of them.

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