Comprehensive Security Plan for Final Four

Comprehensive Security Plan for Final Four

College basketball season is almost over, but first the final four teams, North Carolina, Gonzaga, South Carolina and Oregon, will face off to determine the NCAA March Madness champion. While these men look to bring home the big win for their schools, security officials in Phoenix will be maintaining a safe and protective environment for players, coaches and fans.

Glendale and Phoenix officials have done this before. After hosting the College Football Playoffs and two Super Bowls, they feel up to the challenge. At a security briefing on Monday, authorities said they’d be treating the four-day event as if it were the professional football championship.

The area around the University of Phoenix Stadium, where the games will take place, will be placed on lockdown, Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John said. Everyone who enters and exits will be subjected to security screenings. This includes not only the stadium but the vendors at the Westgate District next door.

The scope of security will extend past the campus of the university as many of the events will be held in downtown Phoenix. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers believes Sunday is “probably going to be the busiest night in the history of downtown Phoenix.” In fact, tens of thousands of people are expected to flood the city on Sunday, April 3 as the final two teams face off for the championship.

The security briefing included officials from Phoenix and Glendale as well as representatives from the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  They spoke often of remaining vigilant and reporting things that may seem suspicious to attendees.

Hundreds of police officers will be deployed around the stadium and throughout the events around town. Security officials told reporters that staffing is key to a comprehensive security plan.

"We staff properly according to the needs of the event and the number of people that are coming and that's the biggest lesson is make sure you have enough staffing to accommodate the needs of everyone that are coming here," officials said.

A joint terrorism task force will be in place to respond to any potential threats, but at this time the FBI reported no specific or credible threats against any of the games or weekend events.

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