State Fair Making Effort To Keep Sex Offenders Away

The Oklahoma State Fair kicks off Thursday, but it's not all food, fun and games.

Wednesday, September 10th 2014, 6:57 pm

By: News 9

The Oklahoma State Fair kicks off Thursday, but it's not all food, fun and games.

Preparation for the fair has been intense, especially when it comes to security.

"We take public safety very seriously," Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for the Oklahoma State Fair, Scott Munz said.

Munz said all employees must complete a background check, including a check against the state's sex offender registry.

In recent years though, some parents questioned the hiring practices at the fair after Oklahoma City police arrested sex offenders working near children two seasons in a row, in 2012 and 2013.

9/19/2013 Related Story: Parents Upset After Learning Sex Offender Operated State Fair Ride

"We know things like that can happen," said Munz. "We just try to do our best due diligence and hope we don't encounter that, because obviously, as is said earlier, we consider public safety to be job one out here."

So, in light of the past problems, Munz said the fair required all vendors to review their employment procedures.

"Each year we reiterate, to even returning vendors, that we still expect them to do those background checks," Munz said.

Frank Zaishik got the message. He owns Wade Shows Incorporated and operates the carnival area of the state fair.

Zaishik decided to do things differently after his employee, 45-year-old William Chase, was arrested in 2013 for failure to register as a sex offender.

2013 State Fair Statistics

"The fault lies 100 percent with me," said Zaishik. "I made a decision with my heart instead of my head. I was very familiar with the employee and the incident that got him tagged as a sex offender, and I made a judgment call and that judgment call was 100 percent wrong."

He said he learned his lesson, and although he finds it to be unjust, Zaishik promised no sex offenders are working for his operation this year.

"It is one of the best fairs in the whole U.S., and everyone should come out and be proud to be a part of it," Zaishik said.

Oklahoma City police will also be on hand throughout the fair.

Although police do not perform compliance checks of people at the fair, sex offenders who come to town for seven consecutive days or more are required to register with the OCPD Sex Offender Registration Unit.

At last check, OCPD has not received any registrations for the fairgrounds.


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