Jefferson police step up security for Harry Potter Festival

Jefferson police step up security for Harry Potter Festival

The Jefferson Police Department will be stepping up security around the clock for the Harry Potter Festival this weekend.

This is Jefferson’s first time hosting the three-day event, which is expected to attract about 40,000 people. That’s five times the size of the city’s population.

City of Jefferson police Chief Kenneth Pileggi said his department has never protected a crowd this large, but after planning for nine months, they are prepared for anything.

“We’ve planned for any disasters, man-made or natural disaster contingencies, we’re fairly confident we’re ready to go forward with this,” Pileggi said.

The department is also teaming up with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin State Patrol for additional security.

Some officers will also serve as crossing guards to protect pedestrians and alleviate traffic.

The city has selected a group of ambassadors that will roam the festival grounds to report anything they find suspicious.

The Harry Potter Festival was held in Edgerton since 2015, but event organizers parted ways with the city after it refused to invest $100,000 and meet certain requests.

The City of Jefferson agreed to pay $25,000 for marketing, but will be reimbursed by event organizers.

Project manager, Robert Cramer said he expects the event to have a huge economic impact on the city.

“People are going to be spending money here. Not only with the 120, 130 vendors that we brought in but also with the local businesses,” Cramer said.

Cramer could not give an estimate on how much revenue the event would generate, but according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, visitors spend an average of $60, which could mean roughly $2.5 million for the City of Jefferson.