SIDNEY — It takes a community of people to make the annual County Concert a success.
“We couldn’t do the job without lots of support,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview. His staff, along with other throughout the area, have completed work at the concert, which was held July 11-13.
“We had mutual aide from the Auglaize, Allen and Hardin counties sheriff’s office,” said Lenhart. “This is a full commitment from those departments. We man 150 eight-hour shifts in four days.”
Lenhart said they also received help from the K-9 Southwestern Regional Training Group and bomb-sniffing K-9s from the Dayton Police Department and Miami University.
“The concert is considered a ‘soft target,’” he said. “We wanted to do everything we could to keep the people in a safe situation. Unfortunately, that’s today’s world.”
County Engineer Bob Geuy and his staff assisted with traffic flow to and from the concert on Cardo Road and state Route 66, said Lenhart. The department provided signage directing drivers where to go.
Lenhart said the attendance for the concert was 19,000 on Thursday, 20,000 on Friday and 21,000 on Saturday.
“And those numbers don’t count the personnel who are working there,” said Lenhart.
In addition to law enforcement on site, Key Two Security also provided security at the concert. Fort Loramie and Osgood fire departments were also at the event.
“They responded to one fire and one record of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Lenhart.
Sprint Rescue Co. had 93 calls during the concert from Wednesday to Saturday.
“Forty-two of the calls were on Saturday because it was so hot an humid,” said Lenhart. “Most of the calls were between 2 p.m. and midnight.”
Of the 42 calls on Saturday, 14 people were transported to the hospital — 13 to Wilson Health and one to St. Rita’s in Lima.
Many 501 3c nonprofit groups use the concert as a fundraiser for their organization. Some of the groups include the Newport Sportsmen, Fort Loramie sports boosters, Jackson Center sports boosters and the Red Cross.
On the negative side, law enforcement made eight arrests during the weekend. That’s one less than the nine in 2018.
“We had 140 calls this year compared to 89 last year,” said Lenhart. “There were a dozen people who were asked to leave.”
The violations, he said, included underage drinking, vandalism and trespassing.
“I’dlike to thank everyone who used a designated driver or camped at Country Concert,” he said. “We liked that you stayed off the road after consuming adult beverages.”
Lenhart said concert-goers were permitted to drive their vehicles to the entrance where family members or friends could pick them up. The vehicles stayed in the parking area overnight.
Many people, he said used Ubers to take them from the concert to their homes or hotels. There was also a taxi service which provided transportation from one area of the concert to another area.
One concern Lenhart had during the concert was the use of drones.
“There were some drones flying 10 feet above the people’s heads,” he said. “It’s against the law to fly a drone over a crowd.
“One singer almost walked off the stage because of the drones,” he said.
There were also two ultra air crafts flying over the crowd.
“They were three tree tops high above the crowd,” said Lenhart. “We’ll be working with the FFA to follow up on the use of these items. We’re concerned if one of them crashes into thee crowd, people could get hurt and there will be a stampede as they try to get out of the area.
“After our investigation, we’ll be prepared to deal with them.”
In other news, Lenhart said Andrew Jackson — not the president but a local resident — was arrested at 3 a.m. Tuesday at B&B Truck and Auto Parts, Tawawa Road, Sidney.,
“We received a call about a person trespassing and a theft being involved,” said Lenhart. “Our K-9 found him under a car. Bandit had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face.”
The Sheriff’s Office, he said, is also preparing for the Shelby County Fair, which begins Sunday.
“Lt. Cori Steiner received a mental health grant for the purchase of Deterra drug bags,” said Lenhart. “These bags allow people to put their unused or expired medicine in the bags. The person no longer needs to make a trip to the Sheriff’s Office to dispose of their drugs.”
The bags are then thrown away after the drugs are deactivated.
“Cori will be at the fair on Veterans Day (Monday) and Senior Day (Tuesday) to distribute the bags,” said Lenhart. “She will be at our substation at the fair.”
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.