Short-Staffed Police Modify Plan for Waynesboro Summer Extravaganza

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Set-up is underway for Waynesboro’s biggest event of the season - but as the Waynesboro Summer Extravaganza kicks off Saturday, police are having to get creative to work around staff cutbacks.

The city of Waynesboro is expecting thousands of people in Ridgeview Park for Saturday’s festival. The big crowds mean police are needed to keep things under control. But Waynesboro’s Police Department is short-staffed, and says traffic-wise, you'll feel the effects.

“We get thousands of people that come really from far and wide,” said Sgt. Brian Edwards with Waynesboro police.

Rides were being unloaded and put into place Friday in preparation for the big event.

But if you're planning to head out, there's some things you should know. A combination of staffing cutbacks, resignations, and leaves have left police short-staffed.

“In years past we've done it with as much as 25 officers, this year we've cut it all the way back to 17,” said

Police say people riding the rides and walking around won't be affected. There will just likely be more traffic than usual.

“We've had to shut down a few traffic posts that we normally man with officers,” said Sgt. Chris Hilliard with Waynesboro police.

That means getting home after fireworks Saturday night could be tricky. Waynesboro’s director of Parks & Recreation Dwayne Jones has some advice. “If you're going to come and get in on the activities and want to park in the park then you're going to want to be here before 7 p.m."

It's not just the police budget that's been cut back. This festival used to be a two-day event but this year it will only take place on Saturday.

If you are looking to get out for the fireworks Saturday night, organizers say they are expected to start around 9:45 p.m.

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