John Tuohy, Indystar, June 18, 2011
An army of peacekeepers will complement a police contingent at this year’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration in an effort to avoid a repeat of violence that marred last year’s event.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub said 25 community affairs officers, who are trained to work with youths, will be among the nearly 300 uniformed officers and 300 church volunteers working the last two nights of the 41st annual event, which begins July 7.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief Mike Bates said 275 uniformed officers will work the final Friday of Expo, and 290 will work the next night–about the same as last year. In addition, undercover detectives will patrol the streets.
Three shootings injured 10 people on the last weekend of Expo in 2010. Police said rival youth street gangs that carried a grudge sparked the shootings Downtown.
The task force estimated that as many as 6,000 teenagers congregate around the Hyatt Regency Downtown on Expo’s final Saturday. The task force encouraged strict curfew enforcement.