INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In the midst of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California and the terror attacks in Paris, security is stepping up in Indianapolis ahead of the Big Ten Football Championship Saturday.
Downtown Indianapolis hotels are all booked and Lucas Oil Stadium, with it’s 67,000 seats, is sold-out ahead of the big game. That means a big task for law enforcement and homeland security working to make sure everyone makes it in and out of Indianapolis safely.
This is the fifth time Indianapolis has played host to the Big Ten Championship game. Since the championship began in 2011, it has always been played at Lucas Oil Stadium and will continue to be through 2021. Homeland security officials say that means Indianapolis is more prepared to handle big events like this than other similarly sized cities, but this year there will be a heightened state of awareness. Local, state and federal agencies are coordinating increased manpower and also making sure they have visual monitoring in as many places as possible.
“We have a very robust camera network downtown and we do spend a lot of time monitoring those and they do play a big part in keeping people safe and also offering a preventative measure for folks coming to a big event like the Big Ten,” IMPD Homeland Security Commander Ted Fries said.
IMPD officials tell 24-Hour News 8 they have purchased ten new cameras head of the Big Ten Championship game to replace some that have been failing and fill gaps in other areas of downtown.
Police say increased pedestrian traffic poses a challenge to homeland security. This event will have a lot more people walking downtown compared to a typical Colts or Pacers game.
“We’re looking at ways to improve our current posture, things that we do, critically look at and evaluate so we’re taking into account as many things as we can and trying to combat those threats and instances where people’s safety might be in jeopardy,” Fries said.
Homeland security officials say those attending the game will notice some increased security measures, but others will not be visible to the public.
Kick-off for the match-up between Michigan State and Iowa is set for 8:17 p.m. Saturday, but events leading up to the game begin Friday.