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Not their first lap | IMPD touts 'plenty of practice' in implementing Indy 500 safety plan

Police said it takes a lot of officers and teamwork to keep everyone safe at the Indianapolis 500.

INDIANAPOLIS — On Race Day, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can see as many as 400,000 people packed into the track.  

"It's Indy 500 time, right?" IMPD's Josh Barker said. "It's almost the single event that defines Indianapolis' identity in the month of May."

IMPD is ready and said everyone is being called in, stationing hundreds of officers around Speedway.  

"We've adjusted some of the shift deployments, so we've been allowed to detail the appropriate amount of officers in and around the speedway to help with both the inbound and outbound traffic, as well as hard-security measures at the track itself," Barker said.

When it comes to implementing a plan this size, it takes a team, from federal to local agencies, together forming a national incident management system.

"Our focus is to keep people safe, and if something happens, return everything back to normal, take care of that, isolate it, secure it and keep the event moving forward," Barker said.

Every vehicle entering IMS Sunday will be searched by dogs that can detect explosives and firearms. And at the gates, there's new technology that will allow fans to walk through without having to empty their pockets or coolers.  

"We're excited about it. Hopefully, this makes everybody feel a little big safer when they come here," IMS president Doug Boles said. "Hopefully, over time, it will get to a point where it actually allows people to get in faster." 

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway encompasses 560 acres. It's said you could fit eight of the most famous world landmarks inside the track and still have room. Policing it all takes a lot of work and planning.

IMPD said it's not their first lap, and they've had plenty of practice to perfect their plan. Even though there isn't anything different happening this year, Barker said it still takes a lot of officers and work to keep everyone safe.  

"I mean, it is everything from federal law enforcement, EMS, fire from a variety of different departments that will all be present in that area and all the way down to probably the most important person on race day, and that is the yellow shirts that provide the safety in and outside of the track to make sure the people can get where they are supposed to be," Barker said.

He also offered some tips for race fans: Get to the track early. Be patient and mindful of traffic and street closures. Plan for parking and know your route in and out of the track. And stay hydrated.  

Speaking of parking, the town of Speedway will have a lot of restrictions in place this weekend, most of them starting on Carb Day.  

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