Multiple agencies to provide crowd, traffic control for possible record JSU crowd Saturday

ESPN College Gameday’s early start means traffic issues will likely last much longer
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Multiple law enforcement agencies met Friday to continue planning efforts for Saturday’s Jackson State-Southern University game, made more logistically challenging from ESPN’s College Gameday and upwards of 80,000 people who could attend the all-day event.

The efforts, led by JSU Police Chief Herman Horton, will also involve heavy participation from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, including the state’s highway patrol and Capitol Police Department.

“I’m just thankful as I look around this room, the number of law enforcement professionals that are here to show support, not just for Jackson State, this is about the city of Jackson, Hinds County, and also the state of Mississippi,” Horton said.

Last week’s JSU homecoming game went off with only minor incidents, according to Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey, who also helped supplement efforts there.

JSU’s stadium is inside the Capitol Complex Improvement District.

“Anytime you’re dealing with these types of events, manpower is crucial. And on a normal game day event, we don’t throw as many officers out there for - we just have the manpower to do that. Now we do try to do our best on every game to make sure that the inside is secure the best it can be, make sure that we’re there, our presence is there to make sure traffic is flowing,” Luckey said.

Still, he plans to contribute nearly a dozen officers on Saturday, not counting a complement of plainclothes officers who will also be on site.

ESPN College Gameday begins at 8 a.m., and officials are expecting heavy traffic in the hours before, during, and even after the game’s 1 p.m. kickoff.

Some residents have expressed concern that hospitals could be impacted by the sporadic parking that comes with a sellout crowd.

Luckey said that will not happen.

“We’re gonna make sure that we have enough officer presence out there to make sure that they’re not blocking any kind of entrances and make sure that if there is some sort of traffic jam going on, we notice that ahead of time and try to clear that up,” he said.

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