Law enforcement, IMS preparing for Indy 500 using new tools

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Several law enforcement agencies area already preparing for the Indy 500, the World’s largest single-day sport event. Local, state and federal officials will be working together as usual to keep race fans safe. They will also have access to some new tools.

“It’s almost game time for us,” said Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Spokesman.

“We’re working with the FBI. We’re also working with the secret service on this event,” said Gary Coons, Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief.

Back in 2011, security was ramped up, but authorities did not have access to a simulation that was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. After watching last year’s crowds, federal officials gathered enough data to read crowd behavior. The information collected will help position or reposition law enforcement and IMS personnel. If there is a threat, they have also learned where and how to move the crowds.

“It may not be a tornado it could be straight line winds,” said Coons, who warned about severe weather.

Security officials will be gathered inside a facility at the track, and a second, supportive location will be assembled inside the Emergency Operations Center in Indianapolis.

Coons also said they will have access to a Civil Air Patrol plane with a high definition camera. They have routinely relied on a helicopter.

“We’ll do some tabletop exercises in April anticipating things that might happen,” said Boles.

In the meantime, IMS is dusting off concrete barriers used to improve traffic flow. They are also meeting with neighbors to talk about important safety concerns.