With A-Day Upcoming, Mayor Walt Maddox Addresses Security in Tuscaloosa
This weekend will be one of the busiest of the year in Tuscaloosa with the A-Day game and all of the surrounding events. Along with a Saturday full of football-related activities, Alabama softball and Alabama baseball will also be in action. Close to 100,000 people will descend upon campus throughout the weekend and that dense population might raise a few concerns for fans in the wake of the tragic events in Boston.
Mayor Walt Maddox talked to us about security and safety as A-Day arrives.
"I can assure you that every resource of the city is put into play when it comes to the safety and security of everyday life here in Tuscaloosa, but in particular, when we host large events.
"I believe that our security presence for this coming Saturday will be significant, and I think that we will continue to make adjustments where necessary."
People across the country are on high alert after two bombings during the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured another 170. Mayor Maddox said the he spoke with Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson to find out how those events can help prepare emergency personnel here.
"The Chief and I spoke shortly after what happened in Boston. He and his team are going to take the necessary preparations to look at what happened, look at the lessons learned, and make sure we apply them here in Tuscaloosa.
"We are as prepared as one could be for an event of a mass casualty, understanding that in any event how it unfolds, when it unfolds, the nature of it unfolding are just unpredictable. But we are as prepared as a city of our size could be.
"Of course, our goal is to prevent anything from happening, but as we see what happened in Boston, there’s no 100% safety net when it comes to these matters."
A-Day festivities begin at 9 a.m. with the Aaron's BCS National Championship Race Car on display outside the stadium along with photo and autograph opportunities. The gates at Bryant-Denny Stadium open at 11 a.m. and the game kicks-off at 2 p.m.
Mayor Maddox re-affirmed that emergency personnel everywhere relies on the public for information and that it's essential you share something that catches your attention or seems out of place.
"The public is the first line of defense, and if they suspect something wrong, they need to report it to police. A lot of times, our first impressions are the correct ones. I think it’s very important that if you sense something is not right, let a police officer know, let someone from fire and rescue know, so that we can at least go and address it."
"What we will continue to do, from our end, is we will look at what happened in Boston. We’ll see what lessons can be learned and see what we can do to better improve our security at large events. We take it very seriously. I know a lot of time, effort, and resources are spent in that regard. In the end, our public our first line of defense. If they sense something is wrong, report it. You’re not going to waste anyone’s time. That is what we’re here to do and we will certainly check it out."