Police officers on foot, horseback, bicycle and motorcycle will be on hand Thursday night at Staples Center for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says his department will deploy four times as many officers as it did when the Lakers won the championship last year.
If the Lakers win again, Beck urged everyone to celebrate responsibly… and legally.
"If you vandalize, if you graffiti, if you assault somebody in conjunction with one of these celebratory incidents, I take it personally," Beck said at a news conference in the Staples Center media room. "By those actions, you defame the reputation of the city that we all love. So believe me, these are not crimes that will go uninvestigated or put on the back burner."
Beck declined to give specific numbers or locations about officer deployments in the city. He and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged people without tickets to the game not to go near Staples Center.
L.A. Fire Chief Millage Peaks says he can’t afford Lakers-Celtics tickets, so he plans to watch at home… with the door locked.
"Every day the Los Angeles Fire Department transports in excess of 500 people to hospitals in the city of Los Angeles," said Peaks. "We don’t want to transport not one person as a result of doing something stupid while they’re celebrating the victory of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The police department plans to deploy hundreds of additional officers across the city in anticipation of celebrations. Staples Center officials encouraged those with tickets to the game to leave extra time to get to Staples Center.
They say other events nearby around the same time – the E3 Convention and the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Los Angeles Film Festival at LA LIVE – will crowd the area and leave little extra parking.