Police prepare for celebrations after semi-final game - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Police prepare for celebrations, disturbances after semi-final game Sat.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB) -- Police say impromptu celebrations last weekend are a rehearsal for what could happen after this Saturday's Final Four semi-final game between University of Louisville and University of Kentucky.

The game should end about 8:30 Saturday night, leaving plenty of time, potentially, to party in public.

Last Saturday, people by the hundreds spilled into Cardinal Boulevard near the University of Louisville campus, minutes after the Cardinals beat Florida.

Freshman U of L student Cassie Joslin was one of them.

"Everyone started doing the Cards cheer. It was crazy. Everyone was dancing, jumping up and down. It was awesome," Joslin said.

Patrick Kuc, the manager of the Cardinal Blvd. Papalinos NY Pizzeria, was frightened at first.

"The instant rush of 'Oh, no, something bad's about to happen' was immediately gone by everyone being happy and celebrating the fact that now we're in the Final Four," Kuc said.

Police closed the street.

No one was hurt.

At the same time, special details working concerts at Waterfront Park and the Yum Center moved quickly to West Broadway.

That's where Cards fans also celebrated -- similar to Derby cruising of years past.

Officers kept traffic moving.

In Lexington, University of Kentucky fans burned a couch near campus after Sunday's Cats win over Baylor.

Police in both cities are refining their plans for similar situations after the Louisville and Kentucky game this Saturday.  Lexington police said the department has had a plan in place for post-game celebrations or disturbances for years.

Fans who will take part expect more people and even more intense feelings in public.

"Oh, it's the huge state rivalry UK and U of L," said U of L student Ashton Dowell.  "No one really thinks about if it's going to be a riot, but (Saturday will) just probably be the same as last time, with everyone showing their school spirit."

Safety is a worry, given disturbances in the 80s and 90s after UK and U of L championships.

That's when legend has it exuberant fans climbed the Confederate soldiers' monument on Third Street in the midst of the U of L campus.

 

At least one block party's already organized among businesses in that area.  Kuc's restaurant and others plan specials and expect to see crowds indoors and out.

"I don't feel we have anything too terrible to worry about as far as looting, rioting or anything ill will toward any of the businesses," Kuc said.

Louisville Metro Police commanders were meeting about their plans early this week, a department spokeswoman said.

University of Louisville Police were to discuss plans Tuesday, but were collaborating with Metro Police, a U of L spokesman said.

Police are waiting until later in the week to talk further about specific plans for the weekend.

Likely places for extra police attention include these in Louisville:  U of L campus, downtown near arena and 4th Street Live, West Broadway, Highlands, especially near Baxter Ave. and Bardstown Road.

In Lexington:  Limestone Street, especially between Euclid and Maxwell Avenues; Woodland Avenue and areas of private housing near the UK campus.

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