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Tuscaloosa police bracing for heavy crowds as Alabama plays for the title


Law enforcement officers are gearing up for the national championship in Tuscaloosa. The city’s police department will deploy additional officers to bar areas for tonight. Students quickly stormed University Boulevard after the Crimson Tide’s title victory last year. Stephanie Taylor is the Public Information Officer for the Tuscaloosa Police Department. She says TPD started clearing the strip after it became hard to move through the area.

“All the people came from these apartments and houses on the side streets there and just swarmed really quickly, so it was crowded on the strip really fast,” Taylor recalled. “So the police chief decided that it had become a public safety hazard and he declared the area overcrowded. Officers started asking people to leave and disperse.”

TPD is expecting a similar situation tonight. Additional officers will be deployed at bar areas to keep celebrators safe. TPD spokeswoman Taylor says officers started to disperse the crowd last year after it became hard to move, and that kind of public response is expected tonight.

“If someone was injured in the middle of the crowd, they may not be able to get to them as quickly as they would need to. They just need to have a free flow of traffic, and when it gets so crowded that people can’t get from where they’re going, that’s when it becomes an issue.”

Alabama and Georgia have competed for the title before. Back in 2018, the Crimson Tide won the championship over the Dogs in Atlanta. Alabama returned to that same venue later in 2018 for the SEC conference title game against Georgia, and won that game as well.

Libby Foster is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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