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Deputies control 'Mayhem'

Sergeant Chris Cole and Deputy Ruben Garcia were among 22 employees of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office stationed at DTE Music Theater on July 18 at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
July 30, 2014 - At a concert billed as the "Mayhem Festival," Oakland County Sheriff's deputies made sure they had plenty of people to keep the peace, July 18.

Two sergeants and 20 deputies were stationed at DTE Energy Music Theater during the festival, July 18, featuring Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Cannibal Corpse, Asking Alexandria, and other acts.

Deputies are in place to serve as safeguards rather than enforcers, said Lt. Dirk Feneley, commander of the Oakland County Sheriff's substation in Independence Township. Any problems that occurs are handled first by DTE security staff, with deputies serving as backup.

"They have been absolutely great how they handle things," Feneley said. "We're not there to give people a hard time."

They make sure there is a police presence at DTE for every show during the season, which began on May 23 with Eddie Money.

Costs are borne by concert promoters, with no taxpayer dollars used, the lieutenant said.

"We charge them per officer we have on site," he said. "We have never had any problems getting paid. The promoters have always paid the fees no questions asked."

Officers' biggest task is getting traffic in and out of DTE safety before and after concerts. The minimum staff required at any event is seven officers because there are seven traffic details at the venue, the most dangerous at I-75 and Sashabaw Road.

Feneley said the most common problems they encounter are family fights, especially between husbands and wives.

"Usually the wife takes off from the husband," he said.

Another common problem is vehicle accidents and drunk and disorderly people, but the drunk concert goer is usually just taken to detoxify at the Oakland County jail.

Feneley said he has been to many concerts over the years, and remembers the very first concert held at DTE was David Cassidy.

"Back then, there were no fences, and visitors used to be able to carry kegs of beer up the hill," he said.

The greatest crowd so far – the Steve Miller Band, Feneley said.

Independence Township Fire Department is also on site when various bands bring in pyrotechnics for their shows.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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