IMPD to Mount Portable Lights Downtown, Warn Gang Members to Ensure Safety at Black Expo

John Tuohy and Brian Wilson, Indy Star, July 10, 2013

Indianapolis police officials said Wednesday that they plan to mount portable lights Downtown and send personal warnings to gang members to ensure safety at the height of the upcoming Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration.

The security measures, among others, are similar to those that proved effective in other big Downtown events, officials said, including Expo during the past two years and Super Bowl week in 2012.

IMPD and Homeland Security officials discussed the plans in interviews earlier Wednesday, in the wake of a violent week in Indianapolis that left five people dead, one of them in a shooting after the July 4 fireworks as thousands gathered Downtown. Officials of IMPD and Indiana Black Expo also discussed the plans during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

This year’s Summer Celebration will kick off at 7 tonight with an ecumenical service at Light of the World Christian Church on Michigan Road. Events will continue through next weekend, with many events at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

The highest level of security will be July 19-20, the final Friday and Saturday night of the celebration, when most people attend events Downtown.

“Several hundred” police officers will be Downtown along with hundreds of volunteers to help the event run smoothly, said Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons.

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Michael Bates, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department deputy chief, said police will provide additional lighting for Downtown areas that are relatively dark, mostly on the east side of Downtown and on Maryland Street.

In addition, he said, police will visit the homes of about 15 to 20 known gang members or troublemakers to warn them against causing problems if they attend Expo.

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{snip} In addition, about 75 surveillance cameras will provide live feeds to a command van Downtown.

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Since 10 people were shot right after Expo closed in 2010, no gun violence has been reported during the past two celebrations as the event moved many of its elements to the Indiana Convention Center.

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