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City Tournament Guarded Inside and Out
Right after a basketball game in Chicago Wednesday night, there was a fight. A teenager, uninvolved, was shot in the back and killed. Since an increase in fights and gun violence in the city of Springfield, the school district and local police have increased security measures at City Tournament. Their hope is to prevent a fatal shooting like the one after the Chicago game from ever happening here.
We don't all agree on which team rocks the house, but there are no disagreements about the method chosen by District 186 schools to keep students and parents safe at City Tournament.
"I'm really happy that they've got more police officers here because after what's been going on, the shootings at schools, I was worried about this--so many of us being here," mom and City Tournament fan Cassandra Pryor said.
The district is paying just more than $7,000 for off-duty Springfield police to stand watch at the three-day tourney.
"They check your bags and your purses, so I went to a smaller purse and a lot of safety," mom and City Tournament fan Amy Williams said. "They watch out for everybody."
Seventeen officers work inside Thursday night, and 21 will do the job on Friday and Saturday.
"We need to be proactive and that's not going to hurt anything," City Tournament fan Lori Jackson said. "It's not bothering anything. If you don't have anything to hide then you're fine."
Like the district, Springfield police have also spent several thousand dollars on safety, too. Since the mobile surveillance camera they've ordered won't be here until the end of the month, they're making sure the streets outside the tourney are covered, too.
"Outside we've got street crimes unit that will be working," Springfield Police Deputy Chief Cliff Buscher said. "They'll be assigned out there during the whole event and afterward. The downtown officers that are working will be assigned outside there during the event and afterward."
Even the off-duty officers inside will be moved out at the end of the games to see that crowds are dispersed and everyone is sent home safely.