(Image credit: Cedar Point)
While it doesn’t have the same name recognition of Disney or Universal, Cedar Fair is one of the largest amusement park companies in the world. It owns more than 20 locations in North America including Knott’s Berry Farm, but the crown jewel of Cedar Fair will always be Ohio’s Cedar Point, one of the best parks in the world for roller coaster fans. The park has been involved in its share of controversy of late, surrounding how the park handles its security, and a big change is now under way as the Cedar Point Police are losing their police authority.
Up until now Cedar Point has handled security and policing matters with its own full-time staff known as the Cedar Point Police. However, the Sandusky Register reports that the organization is now set to hand over policing duties to the Sandusky, Ohio Police Department.
The transition from Cedar Point to Sandusky police will take time and is expected to be concluded sometime next year. This will necessitate the hiring and training of several new officers in Sandusky PD and Cedar Point will be paying that cost. The Cedar Point Police will remain in place, but strictly as security personnel.
There has apparently been a review of how Cedar Point handles its security since 2019. An independent third party did a review of Cedar Point security starting back in July 2021 and according to the park, making this change puts Cedar Point’s security more in line with the way it is handled at other Cedar Fair properties.
The Cedar Point Police have been under significant scrutiny in recent days. Earlier this year it was reported that 27 sexual assaults involving Cedar Point employees had been reported in the last five years, which resulted in only three arrests. In addition, the Sandusky Register says that it has made various public records requests of the Cedar Point Police that were routinely ignored. The paper claimed that Cedar Fair Police simply did not perform as police agencies are required to perform. This led the paper to actually file a lawsuit against Cedar Point, though the suit was later dismissed.
It’s fairly unusual for an amusement park to have its own police department. Even Walt Disney World doesn’t have that. While Disney pays for many of its own services via the Reedy Creek Improvement District, it mainly pays the Orange County Florida Sheriff’s Office for its police needs, though it does hire off-duty deputies who work inside the resort during their personal time.
Cedar Fair had a rough 2021 where the company lost $48 million, largely due to closures and slow openings due to the global pandemic. The company’s financial difficulties were likely what led to an unsolicited takeover bid from SeaWorld earlier this year. Ultimately, the SeaWorld deal fell through for undisclosed reasons.