Cops field calls as cosplayers descend on downtown

Posted at 8:12 PM, Sep 05, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake Comic Con has returned to the Salt Palace and brings with it some pretty interesting costumes, and Salt Lake police have received a few calls from concerned non-convention goers.

Many comic characters of course carry weapons, and it might be alarming at first to see those characters on the street or at the table next to you in the food court. But if they’re coming or going to comic con, rest assured the weapons are fake and have been double checked by security.

“You may get some strange looks like, ‘What are ya?’ But most of the time it’s like, ‘Hey that’s pretty cool,” Cosplayer Wade Adams said.

The term is costumeplay or cosplay for short, people dressing up as their favorite characters and interacting with others at an organized event – an event like comic con.

Adams was the first dressed-up convention goer we spotted, walking down the Salt Lake sidewalk with a sword on his hip.

He said his prop weapons are only for the convention, and when he leaves the Salt Palace, he disarms to put others at ease.

“No, I’ll leave the weapons, it’s just common courtesy,” he said. "You don’t want to freak too many people out; you’re already dressed up weird.”

But not everyone shares this philosophy, which is why Salt Lake police are already receiving calls from concerned citizens.

“Somebody was wearing an orange prison outfit, getting into a vehicle, so I guess citizens thought it was an escapee from the prison, “said Det.Veronica Montoya of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

The man in the orange suit was just a convention-goer, but police are taking all calls seriously and double checking all reports.

“As calls come in, we of course send officers to go by and make sure there’s nothing going on and our citizens are safe," Montoya said.

Convention security said all weapons are checked to ensure they’re just costume props before patrons can enter the convention.

Organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con have extra security and local law enforcement on hand.

Bryan Brandenburg, Co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con, said they don’t anticipate any safety concerns but said they’re well prepared should something happen.

“You have to understand the nature of cosplay and weaponry,” he said. “People have bows and arrows and swords, daggers, and things like that--and we’ve created an environment that we think is really safe. We’re comfortable with it and our insurance company is comfortable with it.”