Public safety officials move operations to airport

Public safety officials are working out of the airport to keep an eye on the city.
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Indianapolis public safety leaders have moved their operations center west while safety problems get corrected at their new Regional Operations Center.

Airport travelers move their bags, but across from the control tower, the airport's newest guests had to move very little - even though they moved 23 miles.

"Our technology people came out, worked with the airport's technology people, flicked some switches and got us going," Chief Gary Coons of Indianapolis Homeland Security said.

Indianapolis Homeland Security's temporary new home at the airport's Emergency Operations Center is an emergency shelter after the sudden shutdown of the city's $18 million ROC off Shadeland and Washington on the east side.

"Any type of events, we would manage them here. Presently, we are not using it. It was built for the future or emergencies," said Mike Medvescek, the airport's senior director of operations.

"But we never lost any kind of connectivity and never went blind as part of this," said Coons.

Thanks, in part, to the Super Bowl held in Indianapolis in 2012. The big game had big security needs. That sparked creation of the troubled ROC, but also boosted the Airport Operations Center and better connected other ops centers, including the state's.

"If their facilities were to go down, they can manage out of here. If our facilities would go down, we would actually go downtown and actively run our operations," Medvescek said.

That is critical in severe and upcoming winter weather.

"The building is built to withstand an F4 tornado," said Medvescek.

Some critics fear the old ROC wasn't as robust. The ROC's giant video wall is not here, but lots of laptops brought over from the old facility are.

"We're relying pretty much on laptops. (The) airport's been gracious to hardwire us into everything," said an IMPD officer based now at the Airport Operations Center.

From the airport he can even monitor downtown security cameras - the same ones that helped ID a suspect in the July 4th murder of a teen downtown.