Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The NCAA Tournament means big crowds, possibly 100,000 people over the weekend, but the police are working to make sure there are no big problems.
While the teams were determined just a few days ago, this event has been in the planning stages for a year and a half.
As the excitement builds for the NCAA tournament, Tulsa Police are building up the size and visibility of the force downtown.
They're always on hand for events at the BOK Center, but this weekend they'll have more officers than usual to accommodate the crowds.
"We've got a lot of people coming in, out of town guests, so you know bad guys look at that and think ripe pickings and maybe someone comes downtown to have a good time and has too much to drink, we've got things like that we're concerned about," said TPD Officer Leland Ashley.
Tulsa Police are already on their stations around the BOK Center. They'll also be working throughout downtown, where fans gather, whether or not they're going to a game.
They'll be monitoring the parking areas, directing traffic and watching for problems.
Whenever there's a game going on, Tulsa Police will add officers around the BOK Center and in the fan areas. The goal is to have an officer wherever there's a crowd.
Throughout the weekend, Tulsa Police will have at least 18 officers working downtown, 12 regular officers and 6 reserves.
During games, 40 officers will cover the area - 24 regulars and 16 reserves. They'll be in cars, on bikes, on segways and on foot.
They'll also have two mobile command posts set up, on opposite sides of downtown - to watch over what's happening and quickly respond if needed.
"If citizens are out, they're walking, we're visible enough we think they'll see us," Ashley said. "We don't want anyone to downtown to think 'where are the police?' - so we'll have our presence in full effect."
TPD has handled very large events before, like the PGA Championship, but this is the first time they'll be handling a crowd of this size concentrated downtown.
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