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Election security plans in Indianapolis

Since so many people are expected at polling sites, police want voters to keep their eyes and ears open.

INDIANAPOLIS — On Election Day the Regional Operation Center will be ground zero for law enforcement working to make sure people are safe at the polls. Almost every city across the country has experienced the frustrating long lines during early voting this election season. So making sure election day runs as smoothly as possible is a priority for Homeland Security Commander Tom Sellas at IMPD.

"Normally it's just staffed with my staff in here," Sellas said. 

He oversees Homeland Security for IMPD. Sellas is in his 29th year with the police department and has held several key positions in management. It is his responsibility to be prepared for whatever happens on election day and to make sure it's handled appropriately. So Sellas has prepared for all potential problems from out of control crowds to threats to regional emergencies at the polls. Homeland Security will monitor Nov. 3 live from the Regional Operation Center to make sure people are not only safe and their vote counts but no other issues interrupt Election Day.

"So let's say there is a power outage at one of the polling sites. We need to make sure we have IPL ready to go. We need to make sure we are doing whatever we can no matter what kind of incident we have," Sellas said.

If early voting is a good indicator, Decision 2020 will be the busiest ever. So Homeland Security will have law enforcement help on all levels at the ROC. Sellas has assigned seats in the live monitoring center so communication can flow easily and effectively. Any and every kind of issue will be addressed with input and response from all levels of law enforcement if necessary.

"We will have the FBI in here," Sellas said. "The State Police in here. We will have a person from the election board in here."

Since so many people are expected at polling sites, Sellas wants voters to keep their eyes and ears open. Even with live cameras, people make the best witnesses if something goes wrong — especially if they need emergency services by calling 911. More importantly, he urges people to plan on spending time at their polling site because of the large turnout.

"Be patient and understand that parking may be an issue. You may have to park further away than you normally do and make sure you give yourself time to get in that line," Sellas said.

Sellas doesn't expect any major problems on election day, but if something does break out they'll be ready to respond.

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