Paris and sheriff’s department may seek emergency plan from dragstrip for large events

A meeting between the ownership and management of Great Lakes Dragaway and several local government agencies may result in the track having to develop an emergency plan and take other steps to host large events, such as the one at which three people were murdered in August.

Paris Town Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt reported on a meeting held earlier this month about security and related issues at the track. Beside the track owners and managers, representatives from Kenosha County and the Sheriff’s Department attended. Kammerzelt represented the town.

The meeting was productive, Kammerzelt said at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting. He gave a summary of the meeting, reading from a written report.

“I think it was a constructive meeting,” Kammerzelt said. “I think good things will come out of it.”

Three Illinois men were shot at Larry’s Fun Fest at Great Lakes Dragaway on Aug. 13. Two died at the scene and one while being transported to the hospital. The Sheriff’s Department suspects the shootings were all gang related. No suspects have been arrested.

Larry’s Fun Fest has been held at the drag strip for 20 years, without previous serious incident, according to track representatives, Kammerzelt said.

Among the measures that could be implemented to better control the event would be an emergency plan.

Sheriff’s Department officials would also like to see the track use deputies for security instead of private security, much like the Country Thunder music festival in Randall, Kammerzelt said.

“He was very clear that security needed to be enhanced,” Kammerzelt said, speaking of the opinion of  KCSD Capt. Kenneth Weyker, who was at the September meeting.

Using Sheriff’s Department personnel for security at the track for a big event like Larry’s Fun Fest would be paid for by Great Lakes Dragaway and likely would be more expensive than private security, Kammerzelt said.

Other board members said they agreed changes needed to be made by the track to control the crowds and more effectively deal with traffic at Larry’s Fun Fest and similar big events.

“We definitely have to look at it,” said Supervisor Ken Monson. “I don’t know what is gong to work. Something has to be done.”

Town Chairman Virgil Gentz said “We as a town know we have to work together, the drag strip and the town, but there have to be changes made at the drag strip to ensure safe conditions.”


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