The Indy 500
Keeping You Safe at the 500: What You Need to Know About Security This Year
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.--If you plan on going to the Indy 500 Sunday there are a couple of things you can count on. If you don't already have a ticket, you'll be turned away. They're completely sold out. And, if you're worried about whether or not it's a safe event, well, there are more than 50 local, state and federal police agencies watching the event.
At a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wednesday, Paul Dvorak, with the Secret Service in the Indianapolis area, said that because the event is so large, the feds are here to assist with the security plan.
When asked if there any threats of terrorism, Dvorak said they are watching, but there are no credible threats.
The security plan this year, because such a large crowd is expected, includes an increase in police presence. There will be about 20 percent more police officers than last year.
"To help us search vehicles, to have at the perimeters, to monitor those things," said Mike Bates, who was hired at the Speedway after he retired as deputy chief at IMPD last year. Bates, whose specialty is large events, like the Super Bowl, said you can expect to see more search dogs this year.
He said those animals would be there to help sniff out drugs and explosives and to help in vehicle searches.
If you are in a car, that car could be searched. Bates said not every car would be searched, but they will be picking cars at random and will be on the lookout for anything suspicious.
If you have a cooler or a bag, expect those to be searched, and expect a longer wait in the security line.
"Everybody needs to have the expectation that that could possibly happen," he said. "That is the intent at this point. We're gonna try to do our best as far as that goes."
Their best will also include some heavy machinery. The feds are helping out by loaning out two helicopters. They'll be patrolling the area, especially the lots, to look for trouble. There will also be plenty of cameras, so watch your behavior.
Another security measure is the use of license plate readers. Bates said they'll be used to catch wanted people and scan for stolen cars. They're on loan from IMPD.
There are also several jail wagons, so there's plenty of room to lock people up, if need be.
So, with all the security, it does mean it will be a bit slower getting into the Speedway. Doug Boles, president of the IMS, said you need to leave early and plan for a wait.
"With 100,000 more people than last year it is gonna be a little more challenging to get to the world's largest single-day sporting event," he said.
Bates suggested leaving two hours earlier than you normally would.