• Which seats in the Final Four house are still available?

    Which seats in the Final Four house are still available?

  • Downtown Phoenix gets ready for NCAA Final Four

    Downtown Phoenix gets ready for NCAA Final Four

  • Piece by piece, the court for the NCAA Final Four tournament is put together in Glendale

    Piece by piece, the court for the NCAA Final Four tournament is put together in Glendale

  • Scoreboard installed at University of Phoenix Stadium for Final Four

    Scoreboard installed at University of Phoenix Stadium for Final Four

  • Preparing for the Final Four in Glendale

    Preparing for the Final Four in Glendale

With a busy weekend packed with Final Four festivities, Phoenix Pride Festival, Diamondbacks opening day and more, Phoenix police and fire are gearing up.

A massive amount of technology, manpower and other resources are being dedicated to security efforts this weekend for Final Four festivities and other major events in central Phoenix. 

The Phoenix police and fire departments invited media into  their training facilities on Friday morning to showcase their security efforts.

More than 100,000 people are expected in the Phoenix area this weekend for the Final Four Fanfest at the Phoenix Convention Center and the March Madness Music Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park. More crowds will attend the Phoenix Pride Festival at Steele Indian School Park a few miles to the north, an event that includes a Sunday parade. Still more people will be filing in for Opening Day on Sunday for the Arizona Diamondbacks opening day at Chase Field.

Final Four comes to Arizona

Kevin Kalbrenner, assistant chief for the Phoenix Fire Department, led the tour around the Phoenix Regional Training Academy facilities.

“We’ve been planning this for a year or more,” Kalbrenner said. “I would say this is 85 percent planning, 15 percent reactionary. It’s mostly infrastructure driven, it’s mostly things you would expect when putting on a big event.’

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Emergency medical equipment and facilities are housed on the first floor of the academy. Kalbrenner went over what the procedure is when there are “catastrophic events” at gatherings like this.

“I’ve told this group: ‘The best way to know what’s going on five minutes after an event is to know what was going on five minutes before an event,’ ” Kalbrenner said. “They would immediately begin to start to catch up with the incident, our regular 911 police and fire teams would respond, support that operation and we would go into a full-on emergency operations mode with the city where we would activate our emergency operations plan and get our city leaders in place to start factoring information from this team.”


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The Phoenix Regional Training Academy has been built to be bomb-resistant, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

On the second floor is the main event: the Multi-Agency Coordination Center, also known as the MACC.

The MACC is a large room with tables set up all across the floor and monitors all along the walls. The room is divided into agencies from throughout the region, with each agency getting a table beneath a hanging sign carrying its name. On each table is a series of laptops being used by personnel monitoring their portion of the security coverage.

“There are between one-hundred and one-hundred-fifty people working here in the MACC,” said Phoenix fire Capt. Rob McDade. “We have active military members with us here to assist in case of a catastrophic event. They provide support for these events and work as our liaisons to the National Guard. If needed, they can even provide their own air support, in addition to the air support we have here from local agencies. Sunday is going to be this huge cosmic thing where everything culminates at once.”

According to Kalbrenner, traffic is the biggest logistical concern. There are only about 25,000 parking spaces downtown.

Valley Metro is encouraging people to use light eail or buses instead of cars to reach the events. The light-rail line runs close to all of the event locations. Valley Metro has adjusted weekend service to accommodate the events. Light rail will operate until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and until midnight on Sunday and Monday.

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For Final Four games on Saturday and the National Championship game on Monday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Valley Metro will provide special bus service to connect fans to the stadium from the Valley Metro Rail park-and-ride lot at 19th and Montebello avenues. Regular fare is required.

For more information, visit valleymetro.org.

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