Valley law enforcement gears up for Final Four security

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Law enforcement agencies from all over the state are helping out with security for the Final Four. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Law enforcement agencies from all over the state are helping out with security for the Final Four. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John says they have been planning for security for more than a year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John says they have been planning for security for more than a year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

From logos on the outside to the hardwood floors inside, an incredible amount of coordination is going into getting the University of Phoenix Stadium ready for the Final Four. 

But, it is what you don't see that takes even more teamwork, says Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps.

“My past experience with mega events is the level of detail. and the level of planning that is required to adequately protect the public on these major events,” Phelps said.

Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John says they have been planning for security for more than a year.

“So as soon as we find out that an event like the Final Four is coming to town, we begin our planning,” St. John said.

[Special Section: NCAA Final Four]

Phelps says they play out multiple scenarios, from terrorist attacks to traffic problems.

“To the degree that if you have major arterials, do you have commercial grade tow trucks ready on standby? Do you have trucks on standby if a mechanical breakdown blocks a major intersection?” said Phelps.

On Monday, agencies from around the state gathered to talk about the coordination involved. That includes the Department of Public Safety, which handles security inside, with Glendale picking up the perimeter.

[Raw video: Officials discuss safety preparations for the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four]

“Know that any uniformed officer is there for your protection but really as an ambassador for Glendale and the Valley of the Sun,” says Col. Ralph Milstead with DPS.

St. John says while the game is a high priority, that does not mean other parts of the City or Valley will be uncovered.

“So we can't take every resource of both of our agencies and plug them into this event. There are other needs going on. So what we have done is reach out to partnering agencies in the Valley, all the way as far north as Prescott and Wickenburg,” St. John said.

And, of course, federal agencies like the FBI are helping as well.

“We are providing manpower, intelligence reporting, analytics assessments and, of course, emergency response capabilities if called upon,” says FBI Agent-in-Charge, Mike DeLeon. “Our joint terrorism task force, referred to as the JTTF, continues to work and has been working for the last six months, and will continue to work throughout the week to make sure the games and events are secure.”  

But, the FBI says it has no credible threats.

“So we are going to ask you to go out attend and enjoy the games, but remain vigilant,” says DeLeon.

St. John says if anything does happen, they also have a model communications system, connecting all departments, helping the Valley already come out a winner.

“When we submit a bid I think it gets viewed a little bit differently because they know what they are going to get when they come here," St. John said.

He says the level of coordination between multiple agencies has provided a model now copied by other communities hosting major events.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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