BCS Fan Safety
Police say they're expecting a huge crowd... like always. When the gators play in the BCS Championship on January 8, most fans who can't go to Miami will be partying in Gainesville.
GPD officers say they expect people to flood University Avenue, but it's not always all fun and games because the crowd and the partying can get out of control.
"Zero tolerance towards fighting. Zero tolerance towards DUI. If we catch you, we're going to take you to jail," Lt. Keith Kameg of the Gainesville Police Department said.
Officers say they want fans to have a good time cheering for the Gators... but they want to make sure everyone is safe while doing it.
"We want the Gators to win a championship. But the next day for everyone to pick up the paper and to read how great the team is. We don't want to see anyone hurt," Kameg said.
UF is no stranger to championship celebrations ending in tragedy. The most recent was after the basketball championship celebration in 2007. A GPD officer, Corey Dahlem, was hit and killed by a drunk driver near the intersection of 17th Street and University Avenue.
And with that tragedy still fresh on people's minds, officials from the university say changes in safety regulations will be made this year to prevent that tragedy from happening again.
"With that in mind we want to increase the safety of University Avenue," Steve Orlando, spokesperson for the university, said.
The plans are still in the works, but members of GPD and UFPD met this week to discuss them... and the biggest change would be to the traffic pattern.
In previous years, cars were allowed to drive down sections of University Avenue... which is how Lt. Dahlem got hit.
But this year, things will be different.
"...have an even larger enforcement presence and to limit traffic access to that part of university avenue during and after the celebration," Orlando said.
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