MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Law enforcement has been preparing for the Minneapolis NCAA Final Four for two years.
Tuesday, city police and their partners put its security plan to the test by conducting table top exercises. Local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies worked together to handle mock situations they could face.
The national spotlight will be on Minneapolis this April as the city prepares to host more than 90,000 visitors.
“Training, training, training,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. “We can never have too much training, and it’s the training and the preparing that actually makes for a successful event.”
MPD is leading several agencies in exercises that will prepare them for anything during the five-day event. Last year’s Super Bowl and the previous year’s All Star game were successful, or there were no security problems.
Chief Arradondo says daily and nightly briefings are key because communicating to make sure everyone is on the same page is a must.
“The size scope and scale will be much smaller than the Super Bowl, ”Arradondo said.
Sixty law enforcement agencies from across the state worked Super Bowl 52. Only 30 will be present during the Final Four.
“No National Guard this time. They were wonderful for the Super Bowl,” Arradondo said. “We certainly appreciate the service our National Guard folks do for us, but for this event we will not be utilizing their services.”
Officers will also be concentrating on cyber security. Once again, cameras will play a huge role in keeping people safe. Police will use its state-of-the-art camera system to keep watch over every NCAA event and activity.
“We have a wonderful public, private partnership they also use technology and we will be sharing some of that,” Arradondo said.
Just like during the Super Bowl, a command center will be staffed 24 hours a day during the games. Officers will be very visible, and they hope Minnesotans will help out with security as well.
“If folks see something … say something,” Arradondo said.
Just like the Super Bowl, there will be lots of activities on Nicollet Mall and the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Final Four. There will also be street closures and limited access to some areas in downtown Minneapolis.