After UNC students swarmed Franklin Street last month, UNC and Chapel Hill are working on plans to avoid history repeating itself with the UNC-Duke men’s basketball game Saturday night.
There will be as many as 30 UNC-PD officers available that night, with UNC opening its Emergency Operations Center at the time of the game, UNC Police Chief David Perry said at a Campus Safety Commission meeting Wednesday.
Perry said 12 officers will be stationed at each the Dean E. Smith Center, Columbia Street and Cameron Avenue area.
“We are hopeful that upon a victory — because we do want a victory — that community members and students will adhere to our requests,” he said at the meeting. “If not, and there’s a street occurrence, (Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue) and I have assured our leaders that we’ll do our best to restore traffic and normalcy to that area as quickly as possible.”
According to UNC Media Relations, The University is working closely with the Town of Chapel Hill and the Orange County Health Department to encourage safe watching, and UNC police will provide support to Chapel Hill police on Saturday night.
At the time of publication, the Town of Chapel Hill has not provided additional details about law enforcement preparations for this Saturday’s game — including the protocol, staffing numbers or confirmation of plans for crowd containment.
In an email, Victoria Hudson, the Orange County director of environmental health, said she was unaware of any community spread impacts from the February rush — however, she said, this is not an excuse to lose vigilance.
“Community transmission and vaccination trends are moving in the right direction,” Hudson wrote. “The recent Executive Order eased some restrictions on businesses. We have to stay vigilant to eliminate any actions that could lead to negative impacts at this time.”