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Originally published March 26, 2011 at 07:58a.m., updated March 26, 2011 at 08:24a.m.

Lawrence police plan ahead for Final Four weekend, ready for a party in the streets

In this April 7, 2008 file photo, an estimated 40,000 people celebrate on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence after the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers to win the 2008 NCAA National Championship title.

In this April 7, 2008 file photo, an estimated 40,000 people celebrate on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence after the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers to win the 2008 NCAA National Championship title.

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Fans celebrate on Massachusetts Street after the Jayhawks' 75-68 overtime win against Memphis in the NCAA men's basketball championship game Monday, April 7, 2008.

If the Kansas University men's basketball team wins their Elite Eight game Sunday and advances to the Final Four, law enforcement agencies are prepared to handle large downtown celebrations.

Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib said the city has been planning for weeks, especially for how to manage big crowds during Final Four weekend.

“We want KU to win obviously, but then all the activity takes place in the background as far as making sure we have a very safe environment,” Khatib said.

In 2008, after the Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers in overtime to win the national title, an estimated 40,000 people celebrated on Massachusetts Street. Two nights before that win, a large crowd partied downtown when KU defeated North Carolina to advance to the title game.

No major incidents were reported as part of the 2008 celebrations, and officers were generally friendly with the crowd.

“We don’t want to be so friendly that we’re oblivious to everything that’s going on, but we can be interactive and create a safe environment and try to catch things before they happen,” Khatib said.

Police have been working with downtown bars in recent weeks requesting they serve drinks in plastic cups instead of bottles, which can cause more damage if they’re thrown or if they break.

Mike Milne, general manager of It’s Brothers Bar and Grill, 1105 Mass., said he has stocked up on extra plastic cups in preparation for a Final Four party.

“We’re going to abide by it and try to make their job easier,” he said.

At their meeting Tuesday evening, Lawrence city commissioners will debate a temporary ordinance to prohibit anyone carrying glass bottles or other containers on downtown streets and sidewalks effective Saturday, April 2, through Tuesday, April 5.

Khatib said officers from other area agencies will be available next week to help handle a large celebration.

“Let’s celebrate safely. You don’t have to be inebriated to have a good time,” he said.

While Khatib said the department is not encouraging people to congregate downtown if KU wins Sunday, he said extra officers, including some from Overland Park, will be on duty in case a crowd gathers to celebrate.

Comments

bbhawk234 3 years ago

I said this yesterday. They used this as motivation. Thanks alot George! You could not have waited 48 hours to post your !$!$ article. It sucked anyway. Go to hell I will never read another article from you every again!

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bookemdano 3 years ago

Couldn't this article have waited to run until tomorrow's paper? Look how stupid it looks in retrospect...

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00000 3 years ago

we wont be down celebrating on the streets if we win sunday...< That's not true. In 2008, after defeating Davidson, many, many people went flooding into the streets in celebration. Obviously, there were significantly less people than against UNC and Memphis, but still—we still walked the roads.

Anyway. Maybe recycling bins can be placed block by block for all the extra cans and plastic that will be undoubtedly be used in case KU wins.

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minipman 3 years ago

"While Khatib said the department is not encouraging people to congregate downtown if KU wins Sunday, he said extra officers, including some from Overland Park, will be on duty in case a crowd gathers to celebrate."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME... give KU fans (mainly students) a little more credit than that.. we wont be down celebrating on the streets if we win sunday... we are better than that.. we expect to make it to the final four... its when we win the final four game that we will be down taking over mass street... BE READY FOR TWO OF THE GREATEST PARTIES OF ALL TIME!! REPEAT OF 2008!! and if the city was smart they would allow open containers on mass during the final four and championship games.. cuz its going to happen anyways...

.

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Rock_Chalk_NYC 3 years ago

So everything went very well without major incidents in 2008 so what does the liberal Lawrence council decide... "Lets make a new law!"

Typical liberals... Fix something that isn't broken until it breaks.

Sounds like the Police at least get it... good job folks!

More important, lets just win! Rock Chalk!

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texashawk10 3 years ago

I was unaware this article said anything about when KU beats VCU, but rather was about the preparations that the Lawrence police are making to handle the crowds on Mass. in the event that KU does reach the Final Four which wouldn't exactly be the most shocking thing to ever happen.

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LSHawk 3 years ago

Come on, a jinx, really?? Calling people slime?? Come on, this web site deserves better. No such thing as a jinx, our guys just need to take care of business tomorrow.

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bbhawk234 3 years ago

Thanks KU sports for the jinx, Don't you think you could wait another 48 hours to post this. You people are slime.

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kcglowboy 3 years ago

I was on campus in 88 during the euphoric outpouring that filled Jayhawk Boulevard. There was minor damage (to trees, mostly), be we were relatively well-behaved. In 2008, friends and I raced from AFH to Mass Street and enjoyed the can't-stop-smiling celebration for several hours. I noticed the dozens of law enforcement officers along the street and was impressed at their friendly, forgiving interaction with crazed (and drunk) fans. I really appreciated them that night.

One of the friends with me came from soccer-crazed Brazil via the University of Indiana. He was amazed at how well-behaved we all were ... he witnessed significant destruction in Bloomington in 2002 after a Final Four win, and again after the championship game loss. Bloomington and IU are very similar to Lawrence and KU in size and attitude, so it made our fun-but-respectable celebration look exceptionally civilized by comparison. Made me proud.

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BabyJay2009 3 years ago

I didn't get to join the party in 2008, but IF we were to win it all this year, when and where does the partty officially start? I mean, are people allowed to go meet up w/ their bus at the Fieldhouse? Where would the team be landing and arriving in Lawrence? Will the whole team hold a parade/rally the next day or day of return to Lawrence? I guess I'll have to call their office, but just curious if anyone remembered any public activities attended by the entire team or part of the team somewhere in Lawrence. curious. thanks.

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Robert Robinson 3 years ago

I'm still upset about the "can ban".

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oldalum 3 years ago

I don't think it's too great as bulletin board material. They said they've been planning for weeks on a "just in case" basis.

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Steve Brown 3 years ago

Let's not count our celebrations and parades before they hatch.

This story is not only premature, it provides bulletin board ammunition for the rams.

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eagle64 3 years ago

Only is Beaker land !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

what A-holes...............

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kushaw 3 years ago

No Jinx! No Jinx! We still have another game to play against VCU! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Ear Muffs! Ear Muffs! Ear Muffs!

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eagle64 3 years ago

better be watching the CONVICT players also.....

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KSA_21_3503 3 years ago

lol@idiotsthatparkdowntown

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