Local authorities prepare for outcome of Villanova game

Thursday, March 31, 2016
VIDEO: Local police prepare for outcome of Villanova game
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No matter the outcome of Saturday's matchup, local police will be ready should fans get rowdy.

RADNOR, Pa. (WPVI) -- Villanova players aren't the only ones getting their Final Four game plan in place. No matter the outcome of Saturday's matchup, local police will be ready should fans get rowdy.

There are a number of agencies involved in the security planning: Radnor Township Police, Lower Merion Township Police, Pennsylvania State Police - who are bringing in their mounted unit, as well as the FBI, and the university.

The agencies say they will either be on campus or nearby, but will not be obtrusive. However, they say they will be watching to make sure everyone stays safe.

Radnor Twp. Police Lt. Christopher Flanagan explains, "We want to be very clear, we're here to watch them have fun, celebrate and have a great time. But we will make sure the public safety remains the key focus.

In 1985, the intersection of Ithan Avenue and busy Lancaster Avenue was ground zero for an estimated 10,000 plus fans who snarled traffic. But a few went further.

Lt. Flanagan says, "There was a couple small occasions of some trash cans on fire, a couple things broken. People trying to take memorabilia, which is again theft. But they were injured or broke things trying to remove something that shouldn't be pulled off a wall."

This time, from a command center in Radnor Township, authorities will monitor social media and live surveillance camera feeds from campus in an effort to preempt trouble.

Meanwhile, Villanova plans to use food stands and DJs to encourage fans to party in the center of campus - away from Route 30. There will also be an email blast talking about expectations.

David Tedjeske is with the Villanova Department of Public Safety. He tells us, "Coach Wright is doing a video message on celebrating responsibly that will go out to students."

Irresponsible behavior, dubbed a "sports riot," has struck other campuses following big games. But that is what authorities here want to avoid, which is why they intend to watch and listen and only move if necessary.

"If somebody says things are out of hand, then we'll take appropriate action to calm it back down and make sure it remains safe," said Lt. Flanagan.