Vendors sought for annual C.O.P.S. fest

LAWRENCEVILLE - Approaching its 11th year running, the C.O.P.S. Festival has evolved into an annual tip-of-the-hat to community do-gooders who help make Gwinnett neighborhoods safer.

But it's also a perennially great place to have your security-related products seen by the public.

Gwinnett police on Monday announced the festival - a kid-friendly, informational gathering filled with cool equipment ranging from grenade launchers to police helicopters - will be held Oct. 11 this year. Event leaders will uproot it this year from the Gwinnett Arena to the more spacious Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.

The four-hour festival is open to vendors who deal in a crime or security related field. Police welcome business leaders to apply for display space, which must be approved by the Gwinnett police crime prevention unit, said Gwinnett police Officer Todd Topor, a festival organizer.

Named for the Community Oriented Police Services - the department's neighborhood watch program - the event typically attracts between 3,000 and 5,000 patrons, leaders have said.

The festival "really celebrates the partnership between (Gwinnett police), neighborhoods that participate in the C.O.P.S. program, and the community as a whole," said Topor.

In Duluth last year, festival organizers recognized members of the county's C.O.P.S groups who succeed in keeping crime down in area neighborhoods. One neighborhood in each of Gwinnett's five districts was elevated to "master" status.

Topor said specialized units including the SWAT team, K-9, motorcycle, aviation units and more are expected to give demonstrations.

"We encourage Gwinnett County residents to join us for this fun, free event," Topor said.

For more information on festival vending, contact Gwinnett police Officer Todd Topor at 770-338-4170, ext. 5754.