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Memphis Police Keeping Close Eye on Tiger Lane

Tigers fans will get to test out Tiger Lane for the first time Saturday.
MEMPHIS, TN - Tigers fans will get to test out Tiger Lane for the first time Saturday. The Memphis Football team faces MTSU. Even though tiger lane is expected to be full of partying tailgaters, police say it will also be safer than ever. Memphis Police think the new design will make it easier for them to do their job.

Last season, a Tigers home football game meant cars were lined up on all the side streets surrounding the Liberty Bowl Stadium. Now, with Tiger Lane, everyone's right there in one spot.

The Friday before the big game fans are feeling the excitement.

“The camaraderie with other Tiger fans through thick and thin, win or loss,” said tailgater David Merritt.

Tiger fans like these have been tailgating in the same spot for years. So, this year, with the addition of Tiger Lane, they aren't sure what to expect.

“As it is with anything that comes into your life, this is a change and a big one for us,” said Merritt. “So while we certainly think it's a beautiful venue, we're taking a wait and see attitude to see just how it shakes out.”

Police Director Larry Godwin says one thing they can expect is safety.

“One thing that helped the stadium besides the skycams and stuff, I think Tiger Lane helps a whole lot because it brings that area, we can secure a lot,” said Dir. Godwin. “It makes it a lot easier for us to secure, versus being spread out on these side-streets.”

He says last weekend’s game proves it.

“The Southern Heritage Classic, zero car break ins, zero,” Godwin said. “Not one car broken into.”

That was within a mile radius of the Liberty Bowl.

“A lot of fans came down, they spent some money, they had a good time, and that's what we want, we want them to come back,” said Dir. Godwin.

Fans hope it's the same this weekend.

“I could see how it could be better controlled here,” said Merritt. “And it's more open, we can see Parkway over there. Certainly it's more accessible for security personnel and so on.”

So they can focus on the football.

Memphis Police say eventually they'll have 4 to 5 Blue Crush security cameras throughout Tiger Lane, but they have to get some wiring issues worked out first. The wiring cops expected wasn't there for security cameras.

“We're waiting on some wiring,” said Godwin. “We've got our portables now. There will be permanent cameras out there, so they'll be monitored at all major events.”

Portable skycops will watch the area again this weekend. This isn't the first electrical mishap in the fast tracked city project. For the Southern Heritage Classic last weekend, tailgaters were blowing fuses left and right. Electricians were working around the clock. But for tailgaters out Friday, the power is on and they're ready to party.

“It's great for us to be here right now because we don't have to run the generator,” said Tigers fan Daryl Martin. “We've got power, which we’ve never had before, so that's great.”

Dir. Godwin says the cameras weren't in the original Tiger Lane plans, so he thinks that's why there was a miscommunication and the incorrect wiring was installed. He hopes the new wiring will be in place in the next week or so.

Saturday night's match-up kicks off at 6 o'clock. A fireworks show will follow the game.
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