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Mar 3, 2014 8:23 PM by Lupita Murillo

TPD and 4th ave. merchants prepare for Final Four

TUCSON -The University of Arizona Wildcats are still the talk of the town after beating Stanford. If they keep winning, they could have a shot at the Final Four.

Tucson Police are already thinking about security, prepping for the NCAA tournament just in case. On Wednesday, the officers will be training at the academy.

Most of the action will be taking place on Fourth Avenue. Even though the Final Four is over a month away merchants are working with TPD to make sure everyone is safe during the fun.

Frank Alvarado manages O'Malley's, he says, "Safety is always our number one thing. We got a great team, we think we're going to make a deep run, so we're just ready for it."

O'Malley's is one of the locations in 2001 where fans like Andres Talamantes gathered to watch the championship game against Duke. "You could definitely feel the energy. Wall to wall people, I mean just all over the place. Everybody was having fun."

Then, the U of A lost to Duke and the fun turned into chaos and lawlessness. People took to the streets, setting cars on fire, climbing poles, and destroying city property. Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor, "We don't want anybody climbing any poles or touching wires or anything like that."

The Chief has good reason to say that with the new infrastructure in place for the street car. There are wires and cables that carry 750 volts of electricity. Marwan Al-Mukhtar is the Satellite Security Services director, he says, "That wire you see the street cars in contact with. That's where we get the propulsion system from. The system is dangerous and you don't want to be close to the wire."

Tucson Police is working with other agencies as well as the merchants on Fourth Ave.
Chief Villasenor says they aren't going to allow large crowds to gather. "We're all proud of the Wildcats, we all appreciate the effort and dedication it takes to arrive at that level of performance. So let's not degrade it with any type of performance on our streets that cause us problems or negative image on the city."

The Chief says they've learned from the past so they are ready for March Madness and the Final Four.

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