Dothan PD doubling security at next Foster Fest

Dothan PD doubling security at next Foster Fest

Dothan, Ala. (WSFA) - At Foster Fest, Stix and Cones Owner and Manager Brett Smith serves up all the favorites with the fixin’s for crowds.

“Usually hot dogs, chilly dogs, chili-cheese dogs, Baja dogs,” said Smith. “Our popsicle we make here in town. Serve homemade waffle cones, root beer floats - that kind of thing.”

Right on the corner of Foster Street, his restaurant sees heavy traffic during the street festival event. His stand-alone shops at the event get business too.

The waves of crowds, for the most part, are there for family fun, but police say during the last two monthly events they’ve had to respond to incidents.

Smith said there’s been one near his location.

“There was an incident that happened at one of our remote locations at Foster Fest, it was quelled really quickly,” said Smith.

During this month’s Foster Fest, police confirm they responded to fights during the typically calm, family-friendly event. Police say Christopher Lamar Watford and Oreian RaSheed Hardrick were two of the nine people arrested for disorderly conduct at the event. The seven others arrested were juveniles.

“You’re looking at a small number of people who may disrupt, or potentially disrupt, a good time for others and we’re not going to stand for that,” said Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish.

Wednesday, the department met with the Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority for a closed door work session to discuss security enhancements. Chief Parrish says the result was the decision to double security for next month’s event, bringing officer numbers up to roughly 20. Some officers will be in uniform and others in plain clothes.

“Whatever we have to do to keep it safe we’re going to do that,” said Parrish. “If trouble makers are out there and want to interfere with that, they probably don’t need to come, because we have a place for where they can go.”

Parrish says they are also looking at closing Museum Avenue to Main Street to free up officers who direct traffic to have more people on hand to patrol. The department is also looking at possible surveillance equipment and added lighting for the event.

The Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority released a statement to WSFA about security enhancements saying:

“The Dothan Police Department and the Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DDRA) met Wednesday morning to discuss several issues related to last Friday night’s Foster Fest event. Dothan police arrested nine individuals for fighting, seven of which were juveniles. Police and DDRA officials are committed to making this a safe event for all residents and visitors to enjoy. Immediate steps are being taken to prevent disorderly activity in the future. City officials will assign more police officers to work the event as well as increasing safety measures such as video surveillance, undercover police officers and increased security lighting.” - Jamie Bienvenu – Executive Director

Business owners on Foster Street agree as the festival grows they appreciate extra security precautions.

“I’m glad they’re out in front of it. I thought they handled it very swiftly and justly,” said Smith. “The projections I heard for the future, we should feel very secure in what’s happening.”

Foster Fest is the first Friday of the month.

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