LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2014) — As the University of Kentucky Wildcats head into the NCAA Sweet 16 match-up Friday, March 28, fans are being encouraged to enjoy the game, but also to celebrate safely and respect their neighbors.
To that end, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto announced a joint city/UK initiative during and after this weekend’s games to help ensure safety and coordinated enforcement efforts.
“This is an exciting time for our men’s and women’s teams, the university and the Big Blue Nation,” Capilouto said. “But our celebration can be quickly tarnished by a few people choosing to act recklessly. We all must be vigilant and take care of one another to responsibly support our teams’ success. Our safety plan – in partnership with the city — is a reminder of our expectations for everyone in celebrating and the consequences if those few people don’t uphold those expectations.”
“Let’s cheer. Let’s celebrate. Let’s respect neighbors. Let’s be safe,” Mayor Jim Gray said.
UK Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Mock reminds UK students that, as in past years, “if they engage in dangerous or criminal behavior, not only will they be subject to criminal charges, but also may face penalties from the university through the Student Code of Conduct judicial process.”
UK and Lexington public safety officials are working together to protect citizens and property this weekend. UK Police will be working closely with the Lexington Fire and Police Departments in the campus area to facilitate a safe celebration.
“We are expecting a great game and good behavior from all UK Basketball fans this weekend,” said Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin. “We’re doing our part to make sure traffic flows well, the streets are safe and everyone can enjoy a good time. We ask citizens to do their part by: being responsible, respectful and choosing not to drink and drive. If there are enforcement or safety issues, we’re prepared to handle them.”
“We want the UK and Lexington communities to know that safety is our top priority,” UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said. “We appreciate fans wanting to celebrate safely and respectfully, however, we are prepared to take action if celebrations turn into dangerous or criminal acts.”
Elements of the City/UK safety plan include:
• The Lexington Division of Fire is moving its command post close to campus and calling in additional firefighters.
• The city Division of Code Enforcement has delivered about 200 door hangers in the neighborhoods near campus. The door hangers provide information concerning trash and combustibles. Code Enforcement personnel will be working in the area during and after the game.
• UK Police will be using the new security system installed on campus last year that includes nearly 400 cameras deployed at key locations throughout campus. The cameras are expected to provide extra surveillance, which will benefit investigations in the event of any criminal behavior on campus.