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Incident at Kings Island 5/22/21


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When I was a Park Police Officer, it was nice having a few less crowded weekends in April to help the young security officers learn how to handle situations that could escalate quickly. For some, this is their first security job. Some are 18 and having to deal with their peers and people who are much older than them, which can be daunting. Some think they can handle situations like that, until it actually happens.

I will not be commenting on how the situation was handled, but I give a ton of credit to those who put themselves in the middle of that mess and tried to take care of the situation and I hope the park recognizes that as well. 

I fully believe the park will make adjustments to ensure guests have a feeling of safety. Things will get better.

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10 minutes ago, CheetahDrew said:

I think one thing is pretty clear here and this is more in response to some of the things I’ve seen elsewhere rather than here really but still Important. 
 

this situation got out of control so quickly it isn’t fair to blame the employees for this, does Kings Island have some responsibility yes, however a lot of these kids it was their first or second weekend at the park working.

 

security is understaffed and it’s important to understand that a lot of them are new. The employees always ask for your patience the weekends up to full time season for that reason. 
 

my point being not that I think anyone here is, but that it isn’t as simple as blaming the employees for what occurred, I actually think they did brilliantly given the unfortunate circumstances. 

I agree with your post. Fingers can be pointed all day at KI, but where does that line stop of it being the park not doing enough vs the kids and the responsible party that brought them take ownership of the behavior? They could have had 3 times the security and that may not have prevented the incident any less.

Do I want to see a KK policy? No. The 1000's of teenagers that are there every day being respectful and enjoying their summer should not have to loose that privilege.

I do feel that park rules need to be tighter and advertised for those under age that are there without an adult in the park.  Make it clear: They get caught breaking the rules they are escorted out of the park just like they started doing with cell phones out on rides. Do it a second time they loose their pass for the year.

 

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10 minutes ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

I agree with your post. Fingers can be pointed all day at KI, but where does that line stop of it being the park not doing enough vs the kids and the responsible party that brought them take ownership of the behavior? They could have had 3 times the security and that may not have prevented the incident any less.

Do I want to see a KK policy? No. The 1000's of teenagers that are there every day being respectful and enjoying their summer should not have to loose that privilege.

I do feel that park rules need to be tighter and advertised for those under age that are there without an adult in the park.  Make it clear: They get caught breaking the rules they are escorted out of the park just like they started doing with cell phones out on rides. Do it a second time they loose their pass for the year.

 

Escorted out of the park to do what?  Be upset then start fights in the drop off area while they could be waiting hours for someone to pick them up?

 

Maybe they should get rid of the drop off area, make it less easy to drop a car load of kids off.  KI has the most easiest drop off area of all parks IMO.

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6 minutes ago, coaster sally said:

Escorted out of the park to do what?  Be upset then start fights in the drop off area while they could be waiting hours for someone to pick them up?

 

Maybe they should get rid of the drop off area, make it less easy to drop a car load of kids off.  KI has the most easiest drop off area of all parks IMO.

Eliminating the drop-off area would not be a good idea. That would just give people an excuse to complain that Kings Island is forcing them to pay for parking. Also, I feel like a lot of people use the drop-off lot besides teenagers. I have seen employees in the drop off lot before.

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16 minutes ago, coaster sally said:

Escorted out of the park to do what?  Be upset then start fights in the drop off area while they could be waiting hours for someone to pick them up?

 

Maybe they should get rid of the drop off area, make it less easy to drop a car load of kids off.  KI has the most easiest drop off area of all parks IMO.

I did not say this was specifically for fights. I said, "park rules". Teens that are not breaking any other park rules are most likely not starting fights.

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55 minutes ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

I agree with your post. Fingers can be pointed all day at KI, but where does that line stop of it being the park not doing enough vs the kids and the responsible party that brought them take ownership of the behavior? They could have had 3 times the security and that may not have prevented the incident any less.

Do I want to see a KK policy? No. The 1000's of teenagers that are there every day being respectful and enjoying their summer should not have to loose that privilege.

I do feel that park rules need to be tighter and advertised for those under age that are there without an adult in the park.  Make it clear: They get caught breaking the rules they are escorted out of the park just like they started doing with cell phones out on rides. Do it a second time they loose their pass for the year.

 

See, Here's where I disagree.  I was there that day and it felt like a powder keg just waiting to go up.  

There were plenty of things KI could've done before things got out of control.  It starts by enforcing the rules, I think everyone can agree that the park is way too lax when it comes to enforcement and their consequences.

They could've restricted capacity based on staffing.   40+ min wait for food or drinks is unacceptable and those kinds of delays only increase the temperature.

They could...you know..improve the visibility of their security staff.  Cuz gray shirts really stand out well am I right?  Not even going to mention training or lack thereof.

It amazes me to be honest because I've read countless times on here people defending the park because they have all this data and metrics and they know so much more than us, then y'all come back and say "this is unexpected, how could they have known?"

The line that you refer to Brad never stops because it will always be on the park to provide a SAFE environment on their property.  And they failed to do so on Saturday night.

 

Edits made to clarify some points.

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It really is surprising to me that the dry park does not have reservations right now. With their inability to staff food and beverage, it seems a no brainer. Cedar Point turned around their in park experience in one week simply by throttling back the reservation total. Reservations are also required right now at Dominion and Carowinds, if I'm not mistaken.

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Kings Island did not have any notable staffing shortages this past weekend in the dry park. When the park reaches capacity, lines are just going to get really long whether the park is well staffed or not. At Halloween Haunt, for example, Kings Island receives very high attendance, and almost all food lines are pouring out onto the midways. Kings Island never has every single food and drink stand open, and only a few were closed this weekend. Chad Showalter even said that the park was appropriately staffed in the article linked below. Cedar Point had multiple rides closed and many more food stands closed than Kings Island has had, and that is what prompted them to require reservations and limit capacity. Kings Island really has no reason to start requiring reservations because even in a normal year, the amount of food locations open would really not be much different.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cincinnati.com/amp/5231933001

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Maybe then need to update their procedures for minors who fight in the park. One thing I noticed in videos floating around: the boy in the red #2 shirt fight by Coney BBQ is THE SAME kid later fighting in the parking lot. So maybe they need a sheriff on hand to start holding them until a parent comes to pick them up. 

Far as the fights I will say I haven't seen them yet. We only went public opening weekend and left at 7pm. There were a few questionable instances I wanted nothing to do with. Main being we were in FL line for Diamondback and apparently a group of 8-10 line jumpers were on the platform and people in the regular queue were being very vocal about it until ops made them all come back down and leave through the FL queue again. Both sides had some people  jawing, me and my 12yo were stuck in the middle of the ejected group on one side of us and the people who called them out on the other. On the steps, NOT fun. Maybe OPS will have to start watching anyone they boot from line to make sure there aren't more confrontations afterwards. 

Besides front security I only saw 1 at Beast and one at Coney Mall. (I wasn't specifically looking for them so could have been alot more)

2nd instance is people watching the park exit for people with FL bracelets and asking to buy them. We said no, we were coming back. Guy went back to looking for others. 

There's other instances I've read of people being hassled in lines and people pressuring to give their FL bracelets to them.

Kid already knows her 1st priority when she's queued alone is be polite, do what ops say or pay MY price, stay safe, and if anything is a problem come back to me or get a ride operater if need be. 

I am questioning if she should queue alone now if I can't see her easily like Racers or Beast. But we'll just see how this weekend feels before I become a bummer. 

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One big difference between this weekend and a busy haunt weekend was the absence of food trucks. Typically during haunt, the park brings in some food trucks to increase food capacity. The park was as busy this weekend as it is on a busy haunt night, and the extra food capacity probably would have made a big difference on the food lines. Hopefully they can make some phone calls and get a few trucks to show up this weekend, couple potentially be an easy way to quickly increase food capacity. 

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Inaction is not a feasible strategy here. The second statement by the park promises action, but as of today, nothing has been made public. They'll see an enormous crowd this weekend, potentially at capacity again. What will be their changes to ensure a repeat of last Saturday's situation does not occur? As someone who is currently set to travel to the park this weekend with my wife for our first visit of the year, I'm interested to see if any specific policy changes are made public as the week goes on. As of now, I'm skeptical that anything will change, outside of perhaps a slight increase in security presence. 

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5 minutes ago, JimParker85 said:

Inaction is not a feasible strategy here. The second statement by the park promises action, but as of today, nothing has been made public. They'll see an enormous crowd this weekend, potentially at capacity again. What will be their changes to ensure a repeat of last Saturday's situation does not occur? As someone who is currently set to travel to the park this weekend with my wife for our first visit of the year, I'm interested to see if any specific policy changes are made public as the week goes on. As of now, I'm skeptical that anything will change, outside of perhaps a slight increase in security presence. 

I could see Kings Island making some internal security adjustments but not going public with anything to prevent headlines that recall the incident. However, publicly announcing new security protocols could potentially ease some apprehensive guests. I could also see the park’s action being banning or at least punishing all guests involved in the fighting because it seemed like many of them were involved in many of the fights.

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17 minutes ago, chuck norris said:

How is there not a statement from the park yet? Did I miss that?


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If anything is announced at this point, it will probably be Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday before weekday operations start on Friday. I would have expected an announcement to come today if we were getting one, but I am not so sure we will get one at this point. By now, the vast majority of news stories have already happened, so an announcement wouldn’t be as effective. The statement Chad Showalter gave to the news promising action could literally have been the announcement. If this happens to just be a one time occurrence, and Kings Island knows this and that they can prevent the same thing from happening again, they may just keep quiet.

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While I understand the frustration of everyone involved and maybe I am reading it the wrong way from some of us here discussing. I don't think blaming the park is the right way to go about this, they hold some responsibility obviously. However, they can only be so proactive with what they have available to them, beyond that it is how they react to that which we will see. 

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Just saying they have increased security stationed around the park to handle the increase in crowds would be simple enough without admiting fault. They just didn't anticipate THAT big of a crowd or trouble. I would have either. 

Honestly if I had a choice between being park security anywhere or living in my car, I'd live in my car. It may be a bit harder for them to fill those positions if this keeps up. 

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Make that 2 nights if incidents now. If Kings Island does not take action and make their intentions very clear then we must reconsider our faith in the leadership. 
 

https://www.wlwt.com/article/videos-public-records-reveal-more-details-about-disturbances-at-kings-island/36523793

Quote

One day after Kings Island closed the park early due to unruly behavior, there was another disturbance at the park, WLWT has learned through public records.

According to dispatch reports obtained by WLWT, a person called police Sunday night concerned about her 14-year-old grandson who was at the park. According to the report the caller said her grandson was "running from a group of males that claimed to have guns."

 

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7 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

Make that 2 nights if incidents now. If Kings Island does not take action and make their intentions very clear then we must reconsider our faith in the leadership. 
 

https://www.wlwt.com/article/videos-public-records-reveal-more-details-about-disturbances-at-kings-island/36523793

 

From the article.

 

"A spokesperson for Kings Island declined an interview.

When WLWT contacted Mason police for an interview, we were told all media calls regarding the incidents at Kings Island had to be directed to the assistant city manager who also declined an interview."

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Just continues to reinforce my previous statements.

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CF business model for the most part chooses to give away season passes at a low price, and cater mostly to a high thrill seeking market (which tends to be younger, have less disposable income, and more likely to have incidents like this).   This has been brewing for a while. All it took was one overcrowd  day.   Another reason to not return back to the traditional Halloween Haunt.   It’s a recipe for this kind of trouble as well.

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8 minutes ago, Rallyomalley said:

From the article.

 

"A spokesperson for Kings Island declined an interview.

When WLWT contacted Mason police for an interview, we were told all media calls regarding the incidents at Kings Island had to be directed to the assistant city manager who also declined an interview."

-----------------------

 

 

 

Just continues to reinforce my previous statements.

Not taking questions is a strategy that is common for incidents. This is clearly far, far beyond that. At this point the park just seems like it doesn’t intend to take action.   That footage looked like the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was not a good look for the park. I know the place is safe. I think most of you do too. But how does the average person see footage and assume the same? If only there was a person whose one job is the park’s Relationship with the Public who could put a positive spin on this…

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2 hours ago, FUN&ONLY! said:

Kings Island never has every single food and drink stand open, and only a few were closed this weekend. Chad Showalter even said that the park was appropriately staffed in the article linked below.

He is either a liar, or they have bad processes and training. Because it is unacceptable. It shouldn’t take that long to hand someone a cup to fill a fountain drink. 

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If you look at the first quarter CF results and comments, management fully expected a record demand and attendance at all parks (So KI just like the CP management knew as they admitted in March that record crowds would flood the gates once parks opened in May).  KI knew they were not fully staffed for May weekend openings based on their labor numbers, but went ahead anyway and opened the park to full capacity of everything acting like it  was open (which is another issue in itself as it makes lines, especially for the limited food and limited drink refills extremely long).  The park was also overcrowded so not sure how adding extra security can help prevent such an incident because they can’t be in every single queue and every place at the exact same time (not to mention rules at KI are never enforced).  I am surprised that no official action plan has been made public by now, only casting doubts for some that KI can adequately address their issues in the coming weeks (overcrowding, lack of food/drink, re-entry policy, security, etc.).  It’s probably too late now, but KI should go back to reservations on the dry side that matches what the park labor numbers can actually provide for the best day ever experience (which is why Disney World each week slowly increases its reservation amounts based on their labor numbers to staff things).  Hopefully, the required reservations are being limited on the wet side to help the overcrowding and incidents such as this, but have my doubts (and will see this weekend how crowded Soak City actually will be).

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4 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

Not taking questions is a strategy that is common for incidents. This is clearly far, far beyond that. At this point the park just seems like it doesn’t intend to take action.   That footage looked like the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was not a good look for the park. I know the place is safe. I think most of you do too. But how does the average person see footage and assume the same? If only there was a person whose one job is the park’s Relationship with the Public who could put a positive spin on this…

And that is my entire point. Time and again they look the other way, bury their head in the sand, or just flat out pretend that their problems aren't problems.

 

 

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Don’t know if this has been posted. I’m just now getting up to speed in regards to what happened. 
 

 

If this was truly a reoccurring situation that wasn’t addressed until it got out of hand... That’s pretty shameful on the parks end. Pretty incredible that an officer had apparently been pepper sprayed?  
 

Did they hire their security guards from Intamin?

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23 minutes ago, beastfan11 said:

Don’t know if this has been posted. I’m just now getting up to speed in regards to what happened. 
 

 

If this was truly a reoccurring situation that wasn’t addressed until it got out of hand... That’s pretty shameful on the parks end. Pretty incredible that an officer had apparently been pepper sprayed?  
 

Did they hire their security guards from Intamin?

I know you’re joking, but to be fair the security guards were outnumbered, understaffed, and have no real authority. I think the last job on earth I’d want to have is being a security guard during something like this. 

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1 hour ago, Rifleman said:

One big difference between this weekend and a busy haunt weekend was the absence of food trucks. Typically during haunt, the park brings in some food trucks to increase food capacity. The park was as busy this weekend as it is on a busy haunt night, and the extra food capacity probably would have made a big difference on the food lines. Hopefully they can make some phone calls and get a few trucks to show up this weekend, couple potentially be an easy way to quickly increase food capacity. 

Cincinnati has to have some extra soda fountains somewhere too. 

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