INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis has hosted a few major sporting events with full capacity crowds, but this is the first time in two years that the 500 is opened up completely to full crowd, and police are on high alert for a crowd that could be extra lively.
“I agree with you 100%. I have no doubt that we will have a lively crowd for all events, but our officers are prepared” Deputy Chief Josh Barker of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.
The main entrance to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is getting a final cleaning before the hordes of people hit the bricks on race day. IMPD is getting their final instructions for the same crowd. There is no getting around the fact that a crowd of this size is a potential target.
“It really is an all-hands approach to insuring that any threats to our community is intercepted as early as possible, and we can react appropriately. I’m confident in saying at this time, there are no additional threats,” Barker said.
IMPD doesn’t share the details of their security plan. Homeland Security gives the race the highest level of security, short of a presidential visit.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement of all varieties will be in and around the track. The Speedway and IMPD have radiological and biological detection systems, and vehicles that will be monitoring the crowd before, during, and after the race. The one threat that is on everyone’s mind is an active shooter.
“Those things are heavy on our mind as we all process that as a community, as we process that as a profession, and as we keep our eyes towards this weekend. Hosting such large events, our plans are tailor made for contingency like the tragedy that occurred in Texas,” Barker said.
In past years, IMPD presences at the speedway has always been nothing short of noticeable. This year, expect more of the same, plus some.
“I think it is fair to say our presence will be very overt,” Barker said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is also expected to enforce a no-fly zone around the track, plus added security from state police helicopters.