By Michael Henrich
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 18, 2014) — As the Indiana Black Expo gears up for the biggest weekend of its 44th Summer Celebration, public safety officials aim to make sure the events stay as safe as possible.
The schedule for the weekend starts with a busy Friday, as the Children’s Day activities and Family Fun Zone commence at 10 a.m. in Hall B of the Indiana Convention Center.
The action culminates with the first night of the Music Heritage Festival starring Keith Sweat, with the free concert on the American Legion Mall running from 6 to 11:30 p.m.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite wants the weekend to run smoothly and safely.
“To be clear, we are going to have a safe event again this year,” Hite said. “I think the message we’re sending is, just come in the spirit of peace.”
In order to deal with the large crowds, Homeland Security officers and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies will assist IMPD with walk-through patrols of the Circle Centre Mall and other downtown areas.
Off-duty officers will also be on hand to monitor activity at IndyGo stations, with the last bus heading out at 11:45 p.m.
The curfew will be in full effect, according to Commander Karen Arnett, who is in charge of the downtown district.
Children under 14 must be with a parent or another adult by 11 p.m. Anyone 15 or older has a curfew of 1 a.m.
“The parents, I will say, you have a huge role,” said Arnett. “We want all of the children, teens [and] young adults to come down and have a good time. We encourage parents to come down with them. This is a great event.”
Arnett said specialists in social media will also track those websites in order to monitor what sort of online activity could impact potentially bad situations downtown.