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Police prepare for thousands of visitors during NCAA championship, other major events

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis is no stranger to hosting large sporting events and entertaining thousands of people, but this weekend there are nearly half a dozen events being hosted in the Circle City.

“With that many people in the city, there are going to be some issues, but none that we don’t think we are prepared to handle,” said IMPD Sgt. Kendall Adams.

College hoops, St. Patrick’s Day, swimming, diving and even motor cross are a number of the big events that mean big crowds for Indy.

“The good thing is that Indianapolis is well prepared for these types of incidents because of venues like IMS and events like the Super Bowl,” said Sgt. Adams.

IMPD, the Department of Homeland Security and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are just a few of the agencies that will be mixed in with the crowds. Officers will be keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior and unruly fans. Every agency will be dispatched through an operational center that will be set up downtown for the events.

Indiana Sports Corp. expects around 25,000 fans to show up for the first and second round of March Madness at Bankers Life Field House. With five schools within driving distance, including Kentucky, Northern Kentucky, Michigan, Louisville and Dayton, the tournament is just a few tickets away from a total sellout. Friday’s games also coincide with the big St. Patrick’s Day celebration and parade.

“When it is all said and done this weekend, we anticipate 70-80,000 people descending on Indianapolis. About $30-35 million in economic impact generated,” said Chris Gahl of Visit Indy.

The NCAA women’s swimming and diving competition will also make a splash with 16 Olympic athletes competing. A truck show at the convention center and super cross at Lucas Oil Stadium will round out the rest of the major events. Police tell us they are hoping everyone can enjoy themselves responsibly.

“Come here, have a good time, and root on your team. We are certainly a welcoming city, but do it with a sense of responsibility” said Sgt. Adams.

A word of advice from officers: If you are heading downtown this weekend, check with the various parking lots and garages downtown first. Some may have changed their rates or be sold out immediately. Ride sharing is also an option.