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Police enhancing security for Lodi Grape Festival

Officers will be carrying rifles and using drones at this year's Lodi Grape Festival.

LODI, Calif. — The Lodi Grape Festival kicks off this weekend and the Lodi Police Department wants attendees to know they're taking extra security measures at this year's festival.

Lt. Eric VerSteeg said, in light of the Gilroy Garlic Fest shooting in July, the Lodi Police Department is enhancing security at the grape festival.

"We've never had an active shooter incident at the festival and there’s no indication that something will happen," he said. "We just want to make sure we have a safe and fun environment where people can feel comfortable."

There will be between 25 and 35 officers at the festival, depending on the day, according to VerSteeg. Officers will be paired up and a rifle will be assigned to each pair.

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"We don’t want our officers forced into a situation where they encounter someone with superior firepower," VerSteeg said. "We can more quickly and accurately address any person armed with a firearm or an active shooter, killer situation."

VerSteeg said there will be a gate check to prevent any weapons from coming into the festival. People wearing colors, symbols or phrases associated with gangs won't be allowed into the festival, VerSteeg added.

The police department will also be making perimeter checks using drones.

"It’s a deterrent. If people know we’re out there, they’ll be less likely to have an attack at the festival. And if they do, it will be quicker for us to locate them," VerSteeg said.

The Lodi Grape Festival runs from Sept. 12 to Sept. 15. The festival is held at 413 East Lockeford Street in Lodi.

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