Tucson police patrolling bar areas today; officials urge fans to celebrate wisely

2014-03-29T00:00:00Z 2014-03-29T07:47:09Z Tucson police patrolling bar areas today; officials urge fans to celebrate wiselyArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 29, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Tucson police will be patrolling downtown, North Fourth Avenue and UA-area bars and restaurants before, during and after the Wildcats’ NCAA tournament game today.

Officers will be “stepping up” and mingling with University of Arizona basketball fans and working to maintain peaceful celebrations as the men’s basketball team plays in the Elite 8, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

The UA game against Wisconsin, to be played in Anaheim, Calif., will be televised beginning about 5:50 p.m. today.

“We will have extra patrols working, and if need be we will call in other officers for backup,” said Dugan Friday, explaining TPD’s plan of action for crowd control.

“Unruly behavior will not be tolerated,” Dugan said. This includes property damage, fights and disorderly conduct.

UA police officers also will be highly visible on and off campus, patrolling in cars, on foot and stopping into residence halls and businesses, said spokesman Sgt. Filbert Barrera. Meanwhile, in a video released Friday, UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne, UA Police Chief Brian Seastone and TPD Chief Roberto Villaseñor urged basketball fans to celebrate smartly and stay safe.

Byrne’s message was for the community to celebrate “in a first-class manner” and to “bear down with pride.” Villaseñor and Seastone echoed Byrne’s message and called for safe and responsible celebrations.

One arrest was made Thursday night near the UA after the Wildcats beat San Diego State University 70-64 in the Sweet 16 round in Anaheim.

As hundreds of fans leaving restaurants and bars near the university campus crowded into the streets, police converged on University Boulevard between Park and Euclid avenues to keep the fans moving safely.

Some fights were broken up. UA student Andrew Gallardo, 25, was arrested and is facing a disorderly-conduct charge, Dugan said. He is accused of throwing a bottle in the direction of police.

Police and the UA “are working closely to ensure that acts of that nature are not tolerated,” Dugan said. “We are reminding students to be cognizant of their behavior and not jeopardize their academic future,” he said.

Reporter Kim Matas contributed to this article.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@azstarnet.com or 573-4104.

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