Police discuss Sunday celebrations

By Drew Teague

Both Lexington and UK police were busy Sunday evening after the UK men’s basketball team defeated the North Carolina Tarheels.

Masses of people flooded the streets after the game, celebrating UK’s first trip to the Final Four since 1998, resulting in temporary road closings.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said that in addition to regular calls the department usually receives, his officers were out responding to calls about the celebration of students.

“We didn’t make any arrests (Sunday) related to the celebration,” Monroe said. “We were very busy with calls ranging from large crowd gatherings, blocking the streets to couches being set on fire and just our normal business calls.”

Several of the calls regarded a recent trend from UK fan during the tournament — burning couches.

“I think within the campus area and on campus altogether … it was somewhere around 12 (couches that were burned),” Monroe said.

Once fans and students began to exit buildings and head outside, Monroe said UKPD went to block off those areas to protect the fans.

“Nothing like that was preplanned,” Monroe said. “Those  (blocks) were just for the protection of the vehicle drivers as well as the pedestrians.”

Limestone was a high-traffic area blocked off from vehicles as patrons of Tin Roof and Two Keys took to the streets.

“People were jumping on cars, pounding on cars,” Monroe said. “We just felt it was in the best interest between the city and us that we go ahead and get that shut down for the protection of everybody.”

Lt. Scott Blakely, commander chief of the Lexington Police Department, said the Lexington Police did not make any arrests Sunday related to celebrations, but said they were called to several fires. With UKPD, Blakely said Lexington Police helped to close several streets for about 45 minutes each because of the large crowds.

Blakely said Limestone and the corner of Euclid at Woodland were blocked off for about 45 minutes, and State Street was blocked on and off.

Monroe said his officers were out in heavier than normal patrols until about 2 a.m. after the victory over North Carolina.

Blakely said he was pleased with the students being respectable and not too crazy after the victory.

Both police departments are prepared for this weekend when the team takes on the University of Connecticut Huskies for a chance to make it to the championship game.