Local law enforcement keeping Mason City safe during RAGBRAI

(ABC 6 News) – With almost 30,000 riders and spectators coming into Mason City on Wednesday, local law enforcement stepped up to keep the community and its visitors safe.

Whether you were a local enjoying RAGBRAI or you were coming from another state, law enforcement was working extra hard to keep Mason City safe on Wednesday and Thursday as the eight-day bike ride made its way through Iowa.

“I mean I know I live in paradise, but this is the utmost beautiful part of the states,” said Lori Yunson, a rider who came all the way from Hawaii for RAGBRAI.

“We knew we had the potential to have a really big RAGBRAI,” Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said. “We know that it’s a big event for the community and there are a lot of people from the region that are traveling in for the concert because of the caliber of the entertainment so we’ve gone a little extra to make sure that’s gonna be okay.”

In addition to the Mason City Police Department, Brinkley said there were about 13 other law enforcement agencies assisting with RAGBRAI in Mason City. Those agencies ranged from Cerro Gordo to Wright Counties, Forest City, Clear Lake and Garner Police Departments, Iowa State Patrol and a Special Operations Group.

“They’ve got kits in the car for whatever happens. (If) we have an active shooter, if we have some kind of suspicious device,” Brinkley said about the Special Operations Group. Drones were also flying around to keep an eye on the crowds.

Brinkley said he thinks local law enforcement and the city were well prepared for this high volume of people coming into the city, but it wasn’t necessarily an easy task.

“It was a little bit of a challenge on the law enforcement side just because of where we are with staffing. So when we tried to pull in additional resources, that was work. We’re running tonight at about 64-65 percent of the staffing that we had in 2014 for police,” Brinkley said. “Really a positive day for our community to kind of showcase Mason City and let people know we’re here on the map.”