BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – Law enforcement was gearing up Saturday afternoon for a busy night in Monroe County.
The annual Little 500 has drawn in thousands of people from across the country to Bloomington for the weekend, and that means police will be out in force.
Thousands of people left Bill Armstrong Stadium following the race on Saturday, but even though the races for the Little 500 were over, the busy night for police had just begun.
The IU Police Department says up to 15,000 people visit the campus for the event, ranging for out-of-towners to IU students.
The event centers around two bike races, and although they are the main attractions they’re not exactly what have police most concerned.
“There’s just some fantastic weather this weekend and it’s making it more enjoyable for everybody but it does increase activity a little bit,” said Lt. Craig Monroe, IUPD.
Focused and alert, IU police officers kept an eye on those enjoying the annual celebration. But once the sun finally goes down and the races come to an end, the crowd has to go somewhere.
“Kilroy’s and Sports,” shouted one student. “Pretty much just go back to the dorms,” said another.
“Going to the library man, hit the books,” one said with a hint of sarcasm.
“There’ll be some parties probably at some of the off-campus locations,” Lt. Monroe acknowledged.
IUPD will have two officers per squad car Saturday night and increased their total manpower to 50 for the weekend.
“Since Thursday of this week we’ve had 34 arrests already. So we keep fairly active,” Lt. Monroe said.
And 11 of them had to take a seat in these lonely chairs in a place set up just for this weekend.
“We have a remote booking station in the station right now. So if we have an arrest we can just bring them right in to the station and do it instead of taking them to the jail,” he said. “It’s going to be mostly alcohol and drug, minor drug violations.”
And those bad decisions come at a cost, sometimes bringing fines of more than $400. Thankfully for police, not everyone enjoying the Little 500 hopes to spend that kind of money.
“There are some people that go crazy and yeah they get ticketed,” said Akil Davis who was visiting the campus. “But like friends that I’ve been with they’ve been chill. It’s just a fun weekend to hang out.”
Bloomington Police set up a temporary booking station at their department as well.
Meanwhile, Excise Officers are also patrolling Lake Monroe. Last year, 235 people were arrested over the weekend.