Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad is preparing for the NCAA Final Four showdown between Kentucky’s biggest in-state rivals, and he hopes fans of both teams show their maturity this weekend.
Police unveiled a traffic and safety plan earlier this week and officers will be out in force Saturday night. They’ll be prepared to shut down streets and make arrests if necessary, with extra attention being paid to the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus, West Broadway and the Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road corridor.
Conrad says police want fans to have fun, but officers are prepared to make sure things do not turn riotous.
“We want to make sure that people have, but that fun doesn’t interfere with other people’s ability to use the streets, use the sidewalk, get to businesses, get to their homes and we certainly don’t want to see the couch burning ways of some of the things we saw in Lexington,” he says.
About 40 officers will be stationed around U of L’s campus in preparation to close down parts of Cardinal Boulevard if need be and police will also restrict parking along Broadway from 9th to 34th Streets. Shawnee and Chickasaw Park will remain open unless police determine it necessary to close them due to safety reasons.
After the Cardinals defeated Florida last weekend residents took the streets to celebrate creating a situation similar to Derby cruising from years past. But a handful of residents have raised questions about whether police plans will be applied to all parts of the city equally.
Conrad says every part of the community will be treated fairly and the plan is meant to prevent inconvenience to residents, adding it is a catch-22 for officers when it comes to controlling large crowds.
“No matter what we do there’s going to be somebody that’s going to believe we should have done more and there will be people who believe we should have done less. I think our job is to try to do what we believe is right. And what we need to do is ensure that we have adequate resources in place to do everything we can to keep this community safe,” he says.