Cops out in full force for Linden game

Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2010

By Jeremy D. Smith

LINDEN – The city police department will have an increased presence Friday night when the Patriots host Maplesville High School in the third round of the state playoffs.
Linden Police Chief Scott McClure said the bolstered law enforcement presence is intended to counteract what is expected to be a large crowd as two of the state’s top teams square off.
“I’ll have all my guys and I’ve spoken to (Demopolis Police Department Chief) Tommie Reese in Demopolis. I feel pretty confident he’ll be able to help me out a little bit,” McClure said. “We’ll just have a few extra bodies just to keep an eye on the crowd.”
Not only will Linden increase the number of its own officers and attempt to borrow from the Demopolis Police Department, but McClure expects some assistance from the state level as well.
“The state has told me they are going to have a minimum of two guys there,” McClure said of the anticipated attendance of state troopers at the game.
If all requested agencies are present, Linden will be able to post more than double the amount of law enforcement officers that generally service high school football games in the city. Even without the assistance of nearby agencies, the presence of McClure’s force will be considerably greater given that all LPD officers are scheduled to be on hand for the event.
“We usually have four or five guys and we’ll have nine to 10,” McClure said. “We’re basically going to double our presence.”
The last time the Red Devils visited Linden Athletic Field, Maplesville resident David Mahan and Chilton County Commissioner Tim Mims were arrested during the Oct. 2, 2009 affair. McClure said the incident, which prompted a lawsuit from Mims, had little bearing on his decision to add officers at Friday night’s event.
The increased police force will likely be tasked with helping to keep the peace during a game that is expected to draw thousands of fans to Linden Athletic Field.
“It’s not because we’re expecting anything, it’s really because of the size of the crowd,” McClure said.
“I’ve been told to expect anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 people. There’s going to be a lot of traffic.”
Among the focal points for McClure and his officers will be alcohol consumption. Linden High School has determined not to allow tailgating prior to the game.
“The tailgating and alcohol was one in the same (at the 2009 game between the two teams) I think,” McClure said. “We will be watching for it. There is no alcohol consumption on city property. The field and the parking lot are city property. Anybody we come across in the game that is intoxicated or we feel like is severely under the influence of alcohol, we will ask them to leave the game.”
McClure’s and his officers will be at the event immediately following a 4 p.m. staff meeting with other officers expected to arrive at 6 p.m. Due to the anticipated crowd size, the officers are also expected to help with traffic duty and parking at the game, an anomaly for such contests in Linden.
“There are businesses, the restaurant across the street and the car wash, people can’t park there,” McClure said.
“Those businesses still operate during the game. The old Big B is closed, people can park there. Marengo Academy has parking. People always park on the side of the street.”
Kickoff for Linden and Maplesville’s third round contest is 7 p.m.

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