Police, businesses prepare for Badger Saturday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Police, businesses prepare for Badger Saturday

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Police in Madison are getting ready for what could be another big night downtown after the Badger men's basketball game.

A massive crowd gathered on State Street last Saturday night to celebrate the Badgers' win securing them a spot in the Final Four. Madison police estimate 10,000 people were partying in the street.

Police spokesperson Joel DeSpain tells 27 News there were 50 law enforcement officers out and says there will be even more this Saturday, in anticipation of an even larger crowd. The mounted patrol will also be out to make sure everyone's safe.

"They're really good at allowing officers to be up high, for one thing, and observe a crowd and they can also help us move a large number of people around," says DeSpain, about the mounted patrol.

DeSpain says it's unlikely fans will riot if the Badgers lose, as seen in Tucson, Arizona after the Wildcats lost to the Badgers in the Elite 8. Police here are less worried about fans misbehaving, and more worried about so many people coming together in one place and the possibility of injuries.

Last Saturday, people were climbing on top of bus shelters and walkways under construction, which poses a real danger to those passing through. Police will focus on safety in those areas.

State Street Brats, right in the middle of it all, was at full capacity last Saturday for hours until fans started pouring into the streets. General Manager Matt Goetsch anticipates an even bigger crowd arriving even earlier this weekend.

"The biggest complication was when everybody wanted to get out once they saw what was happening on the street," says Goetsch. "It was like there was a fire or something, people were going to trample each other to get outside."

The bar will have extra staff on hand to keep crowds under control and serve all its customers.

DeSpain says police are working with multiple law enforcement agencies to keep people safe all weekend and into Monday if the Badgers win.

Someone with the command staff at the Tucson Police Department will also be in town, observing how Madison police handle the crowds, to learn more about how to keep their fans safer in the future.

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