Des Moines Gearing Up For 2019 NCAA Tournament


Between the women’s bracket and the men’s bracket, there’s going to be a lot of basketball going on over the next few weeks.

That’s especially true in Des Moines, Iowa where they’re gearing up to host eight NCAA Tournament teams. 

It takes a lot to make a big event like this run smoothly and keep people safe.

Preparations are in full swing at the Wells Fargo Arena. Banners are up, the court is shined and ready for play. And the staff is getting ready for the madness.

“It’s been going really well. It’s nice, the fact that we’ve already had this event here once. We’ve had a model to go off of, look at where we can improve. And working together as a community to ensure a successful event,” said Bob Swanson, security manager for Iowa Events Center.

Almost 20,000 people are expected to take over the metro during the tournament. Security is going to be tighter than ever.

“Around the arena, we’re probably going to have an additional 50 police officers and sheriff’s deputies working both inside the event and then along the streets outside. So, one thing everyone will notice right away, they’ll see an increased uniform presence. It’s there for a reason. It’s going to keep traffic moving and keep people safe,” said Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Dept. 

That, along with metal detectors on the campus and in skywalks. Officials say 2016 went well.

“Our model worked really, really well last time. It was actually commented on several times by NCAA officials and people in the community,” Sgt. Parizek said.

Their goal now is to continue to make sure the event is safe for everyone to enjoy.

“Security’s always a top priority. And working together with all the assets that we have in Des Moines: Police department, emergency management, federal and local. Makes it so we have a very good handle on the event,” said Swanson. 

There aren’t any Iowa teams playing in Des Moines, but the number #10 Minnesota Golden Gophers are taking on number #7 Louisville in Iowa’s Capital City Friday morning at 11:15 central time.

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