Expect Extra Security This Weekend In Downtown Memphis For NCAA Tournament

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The city of Memphis is preparing for tens of thousands of fans to arrive for this weekend’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. UCLA, University of North Carolina, Butler and University of Kentucky supporters are coming for The Sweet 16 games Friday, hoping to make it to the Elite 8.

With all those fans and media in town, all eyes will be on the bluff city. And police are doing everything they can to make sure people stay safe.

There will be lots of security this weekend, not only at FedExForum, but all over downtown Memphis.

Blake Vanohlen spent Wednesday hanging outside FedExForum. The North Carolina fan arrived in Memphis early. “We came here to see the Tar Heels basketball team, so they should be getting in tonight or tomorrow so I look forward to that.”

There are rumors that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife are attending the Butler/North Carolina game. Though no one will officially confirm anything, Local I-Team Senior Investigator Jeni DiPrizio says the head of the Memphis Secret Service office was out doing what was described as "advance work" for the Vice Presidents trip.

 “We heard from the mod he could possibly be coming, yes,” says Ken Taylor with the Beale Street Merchants Association. He says whether there is a Vice Presidential visit, or just regular fans, security will be stepped up.

We're told at FedExForum, fans should be prepared to walk through metal detectors and have bags checked. Security will be heavy.

Nearby on Beale street, they are also stepping up security. Extra police and private security on hand.

“Definitely expect high security,” says Taylor. “It's our number one goal is to make sure everyone that comes to Beale Street has a safe experience.”

Additional sky cop cameras have been added on the street. There are now more than 50 cameras on and around Beale.

“Memphis being a major tourism destination. We take security serious on events like this,” says Memphis Police Lt. William Woodward.

Memphis police say the city has hosted a NCAA tournament game before, and officers are used to handling large tourist events, so top brass feels MPD is ready for the crowd. While they won't release specific details, Local 24 is told there is a plan in place.

“Of course they will have the special events detail handling downtown for when traffic is heavy and at the forum when things get busy,” says Lt. Woodward. “There will be extra people on patrol. They will bring in special units. I can't go into specifics on how many and what's being used."

At FedExForum, security will be so tight, even regular full-time employees will have to go through metal detectors every time they go in and out of the building.

 

 


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