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The Washington Police Department said incidents at the Town & Country Fair were up this year.

“From previous fairs, it seemed like we had an uptick in incidents taking place in the fairgrounds,” said Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes, the department’s public information officer.

Sitzes said the department answered 54 calls, including five calls about missing children — all of whom were promptly found and returned to a parent or guardian, Sitzes said — and numerous parking issues.

There were five arrests made on the fairgrounds for charges including assault and assault on a police officer, Sitzes said. Additionally, numerous people were escorted off the fairgrounds.

Several fights occurred at the fair. He said the fights the department saw were mostly among teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19. In one incident Saturday night, a juvenile allegedly got into a physical altercation with a police officer and head-butted the officer. That juvenile was taken into custody, and the department is seeking charges. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident. Sitzes did not provide the juvenile’s name. Additionally, the boy’s mother was detained at the fairgrounds for allegedly interfering with the arrest. She was later released but will likely face charges once an investigation is finished, Sitzes said.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy on fighting,” Sitzes said. “Whether you started it, responded, doesn’t matter,” as any individuals involved will be removed from the fairgrounds, he said.

The department also responded to a sexual abuse incident at the fair, Sitzes said. He said a male reportedly inappropriately touched a female, was arrested and will likely face charges when an investigation has been completed.

Sitzes said the department also ticketed and removed seven minors for underage drinking. Those minors received minor in possession of alcohol charges. He said the department often makes it a priority on the Wednesday and Thursday nights of fair week to crack down on underage drinking in order to send a message to underage fairgoers.

Saturday, Washington Police Officer David Burke, a four-year veteran with the police department, was hit by a drunken motorist.

Burke was working with traffic control at the intersection of West Fifth Street and Grand Avenue when he was struck by a vehicle driven by an unidentified 35-year-old woman from High Ridge. Burke was injured, though details of those injuries were not disclosed in a press release about the incident, and he was transported by the Washington Ambulance District to Mercy Hospital Washington for treatment. He was released Saturday morning and is home recovering. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Sitzes did not have any new updates on the incident.

For comparison, the 2019 Town and Country Fair, the most recent time the fair was held, saw four minor in possession of alcohol charges, according to previous Missourian reporting. The police department also told The Missourian at the time that there were no fights at that year’s fair that would likely result in charges.

Overall, the department was happy with how the 2021 fair went.

“Despite the usual predictable skirmishes from a few young people intent on causing trouble, the fair was once again a big success,” Police Chief Ed Menefee said in an email. He said that for an event as big as the fair, the uptick in incidents was small. “In relation to the tens of thousands of people who attended the fair, we had relatively few incidents,” he said, adding he was very proud of the work his officers did over the past week.