ELPD, ELFD Brace for 'Worst Possible Scenario' Ahead of Sweet 16

The East Lansing police and fire departments are bracing for what they call the "worst possible scenario" ahead of the Michigan State University Men's Basketball team's next game in the NCAA Tournament.

Both agencies will be increasing their staffing ahead of the game that's due to tip off at around 10 p.m. Friday, with fears that a late game, a Friday night, warm weather and an ugly history could make a recipe for trouble.

"We've had some uprisings and civil disturbances in the past," said Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth of the East Lansing Police Department. "We've seen some improvements through the years and we hope we continue to see that."

Between 50-60 officers will be on patrol Friday night, Wriggelsworth said, a joint force of ELPD and MSU police officers. Certain "trouble areas" -- such as Cedar Village and some downtown areas -- will get extra officers.

The fire department is increasing its personnel from 11 to 18 and its ambulances from two to three.

Wriggelsworth says it's frustrating dealing with small groups of students who don't seem to get the message, and who don't realize the extra enforcement comes at an expense.

"This isn't free," he said. "Having 60 officers on tonight isn't free and having 60 or 70 or 80 on Sunday isn't free. All the investigation after the Big 10 Championship isn't free. With that cost, there's other things that suffer too."

Restaurants Ready

At Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe, owner Steve Montayne prepared his restaurant for the rush he was sure would come.

"There's going to be people here all evening and in the middle of that we're expecting a very good Friday night crowd," he said. "We're all geared up. We expect a lot of MSU enthusiasts."

It's nothing new to Montayne, especially during a big athletic year like this one. His best tip, get there early. He expected his 300 seats to be full by 7:30 p.m. But he knows his staff will be prepared.

"We know we'll go through a few more appetizers but we've got a full-service kitchen," he said. "We're staffed for a good Friday nigth and that'll be everything that we need."


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