SPEEDWAY — May in Indianapolis has arrived and plans are well underway for local public safety officials preparing for track activity.
From a perspective of public safety, planning for events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unique given the location of the track.
The Speedway Police Department must team up with many other local agencies to create a viable plan to keep visitors and residents safe.
For 11 months out of the year Speedway is a small town on Indianapolis’ west side, but in May, the small town becomes the mecca for racing and host to thousands of visitors.
“(We have) 13,000 people roughly and then within that one-weekend span we go to several hundred thousand,” Dine said.
Dine is no stranger to race festivities. He grew up in Speedway and now spends months leading up to race day helping to plan how to best protect and serve the community.
“We still staff the town as we would any other day of the year, but we are responsible for the town and the track does both in our jurisdiction so we kind of have a split responsibility our footprint may not be as large as what you would see with state police or IMP just cause we don't have the manpower,” Dine said.
It is a joint effort between several agencies to make sure drivers, their crews and race fans are safe.
“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway becomes one of our largest cities on race day, so obviously we have an obligation to keep everyone that visits this track safe," Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said. "We take that very seriously."
Slocum has worked the track as a trooper for more than 20 years. He said he and other veteran troopers look forward to May.
“That experience obviously helps as we try to get traffic moving to try to get people in and out of the track safely and we’re keeping an eye on things,” Slocum said.
“Despite what people think, we aren’t here to make arrests," Slocum said. "That’s probably the last thing we want to do. We want people to come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (and) enjoy the race and enjoy the other events throughout the month."
Both Dine and Slocum are excited to get back to the track.
“The town itself our police department everybody is kind of happy and excited to get it back to the way things used to be,” Dine said.
We all know race weekend can turn into quite the party and as Slocum said they aren’t looking to make arrests, but he said if they notice you out of hundreds of thousands of people there’s a good chance, you’ll meet a law enforcement officer.