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University Police Prep for Saturday's Devils

Capt. Paul Dillon
Capt. Paul Dillon says while students celebrate, police will monitor the campus.
(Photo by Kim Harris)
By Nikki Hawkins
Maryland Newsline
Thursday, March 29, 2001; Web posted at 2:15 p.m.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Like the University of Maryland men’s basketball team, the University of Maryland Police is 1-for-3 against Duke, according to Capt. Paul Dillon.

Or 2-for-3, depending on your perspective.

The Terps have faced archrival Duke three times this season, and students have reacted destructively after only one game, when Maryland beat Duke in February. Students burned soccer goals, instead of football goalposts that campus police had removed, and one person was seriously injured by a thrown bottle.

So for Saturday’s Final Four finale against the Blue Devils, Dillon says the University Police, Prince George’s County Police, Maryland State Police and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Police are taking no chances.

“It’s been nonstop this week,” Dillon says. “There have been lots of meetings to prepare for Saturday’s game. And Monday’s game [possibly]. We have to plan how to respond—getting all the cops scheduled and working with the fire departments and medical teams.”

Although Dillon was unable to offer specifics, he says that the number of officers scheduled to work for Saturday’s game is “a lot.”

The university is opening Cole Field House at 7 p.m. to students, staff and faculty to watch the game on a “jumbotron” screen. If the Terps win, College Park could get chaotic.

“Most of the other schools we talked to estimate this event will be filled to capacity,” Dillon said. Cole Field House seats 14,500 fans, and Dillon expects at least 10,000.

One of the precautions police will take is to block U.S. Route 1 from Hartwick Road to College Avenue, detouring traffic around downtown College Park.

“It’s for the safety of the people coming out of the bars, but also for the safety of the drivers,” Dillon says. “You don’t want people stopping cars and banging on them.”

After the Terps defeated Stanford in the Elite Eight last weekend, streams of fans left local bars along Route 1 and celebrated in the streets. Prince George’s County Police blocked the road for 45 minutes, and no serious injuries were reported. Dillon says there was minor damage on fraternity row, but the burned items were not university property.

He is hoping for good results Saturday.

“We have to be reasonable, too,” Dillon said. “The students want to express their excitement in celebration. We’ll be monitoring the campus and making decisions as situations arise.”

Copyright © 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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