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IMPD: Security to bring ‘some challenges’ for College Football Playoff weekend

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The College Football Playoff Championship is expected to bring 100,000 people to Indianapolis this weekend. 

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the mayor told I-Team 8 on Tuesday that an event of this size brings its own challenges. 

Anyone who is downtown this weekend can expect almost every move to be seen by IMPD. The department will use every available surveillance camera to view the many venues in use for the College Football Playoffs, and every available cop, including some in plainclothes, will be downtown.

This weekend comes after the city shatters its annual homicide record at the end of 2021.

Mayor Joe Hogsett said Tuesday, “All of our partners are putting together the type of plan that has worked in the past, that we are very comfortable with, and I think will keep us safe collectively. Candidly, you’re always worried about incidents occurring, but, frankly, I don’t think anybody is going to be coming downtown with ill will.”

The details of the security plans are kept somewhat from public view for a reason. Police do not want to tip their hat. I-Team 8 was told to expect a lot of police in the downtown area.

IMPD has a nuclear and biological detection vehicle that was bought for the Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium in February 2012. Commander Brian Mahone says that vehicle will be out all weekend.   

Monument Circle is the center for a lot of the College Football Playoff activity. Organizers hope people will come to the Circle during the day, visit the vendor tents, and have their pictures taken around the Soldiers & Sailors Monument. But at midafternoon Saturday and Sunday, IMPD will ask everyone to leave. 

Mahone with IMPD said, “We almost have to turn Monument Circle into just like it’s an inside arena with central points of entry. And we have to have restrictions in what’s brought in, and magnetometers and restricted items as are the best practices and national standards. So, we have to turn pretty much Monument Circle into Lucas Oil (Stadium), right? That’s how we’re going to do that, so it’s presented some challenges.”

Once the Circle is secured, concert-goers will be allowed back on the Circle after a thorough search and a pass through the metal detectors. The size of the crowds in the bars, restaurants and at the open-air venues will be determined in part on how well everyone behaves.

Michael Beard, an Indianapolis Fire Department marshal, explained. “We look at the capacity for these night-time events, capacity for those events, and we go out with IMPD, state fire marshal, ourselves health and hospital and we look at those capacities issues and we regulate them as they come up and we go to places that have issues.”

IMPD and the city have hired security contractors for some of the inside events, and police remind people to say something if they see something suspicious.