Lessons learned locally in year after Boston bombings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – In one year’s time since the deadly explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, security leaders in central Indiana said much could be learned from the tragedy to improve safety during Indianapolis’ many events.

Officials acted on short order in April 2013 to increase security during central Indiana’s largest running event; the 500 Festival Mini Marathon took place just two weeks after Boston’s race.

500 Festival organizers have said changes made that year would stay in place while security plans are reviewed and improved every year.

Backpacks will continue to be prohibited near the race route for the Indianapolis race. All bags will be checked during the post-race festivities at Military Park and course entrances will be closely watched, said 500 Festival communications manager Megan Bulla said.

“With the Mini this year, we’re actually taking it one step further. We are enclosing all of Military Park so the post-race party will be completely enclosed. That allows people to enter and exit through gated points where bags can be checked,” Bulla added.

The head of Homeland Security in Indianapolis said lessons learned locally because of Boston came not only through prevention but also reaction. Gary Coons said his team spent the past year reviewing how investigators handled the bombings in the days following.

“What type of investigation needs did they have? What type of considerations did they have for notifying families; talking with families, talking with witnesses. How did they get all the video? Those were things that we started thinking about over this last year,” Coons said.

With one year removed, event organizers and safety officials acknowledged sensitivities might not be as high during the 2014 Mini Marathon. They said reminders would continue in the community to act on the phrase “see something, say something.”

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