Multilevel cooperation, fresh vision characterize Indianapolis effort
A defunct shopping center was taken off the bench in order to serve as a major player in Indianapolis’ defensive strategy during Super Bowl XLVI.
With 76,000 square feet of space, Eastgate Consumer Mall on the city’s east side became home to a state-of-the-art Regional Operations Center in January. The facility was responsible for coordinating public safety and security efforts throughout the Super Bowl’s scheduled events. The ROC, as it was nicknamed, provided adequate space to house local, regional and 35 federal agencies involved in protecting residents as well as the expected 100,000 visitors descending on the Circle City for the big game. Indianapolis lent the facility to this year’s lead agency — Homeland Security — for the game, but resumed management of the site afterward.
This is the first year the federal agency has publicly taken the lead on Super Bowl
A number of innovations that have never been utilized in a Super Bowl host city were
brought into play this year at the ROC, including a wall of more than 40 monitors connected to more than 80 cameras installed all over downtown Indianapolis. Some of the officers on the scene throughout the Super Bowl Village, Indianapolis Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis International Airport could also access the ROC’s
information from their laptops.
“They don’t have time to go and look up specific data,” said Gary Coons, Indiana
Homeland Security. “Now the officer can do it right in front of them and be able to see information and make appropriate decisions to keep themselves safe, keep the community
safe and take the appropriate action.”
The creation of the ROC is part of the city’s ongoing plan to ensure the safety of the
citizens. Public Safety Director Frank Straub said the facility demonstrates the city’s commitment to do the best it can to keep them safe, keep them engaged and contribute to
the economic revitalization of Indianapolis.
“We are very proud of this new facility and hope that it serves as a national model of partnership between local, state and federal authorities,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “The creation and opening of the ROC is an integral part of our ongoing, proactive plan to
ensure the safety of the public.”
The ROC is an $18 million investment for the city. It will be paid for over 25 years and the facility is now serving as the new East district headquarters for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department beginning in March. The city signed a 25-year lease with
mall owners, Lifeline Data Centers, which has been using a portion of the facility to provide off-site data storage for their clients. The center’s walls and roof have been designed to withstand winds of 120 mph, so if unpredictable Indiana weather ever causes a problem, the ROC will stay up and running.
“The ROC was designed with the community in mind. In that regard, a large community room was designed to host community meetings and events as well as specialized training sessions such as the Community Emergency Response Team training,” he said.
As for “Super” security, attendance at the Super Bowl Village steadily increased in the days leading up to the game. By Super Bowl Sunday, a reported 950,000 people had made their way down to the massive block party. That party was put to the test on Friday, Feb. 3, when 200,000 descended on Georgia Street to take part in the Village, the NFL Experience and the free LMFAO concert that caused human gridlock along the city streets.
Despite the surge of people, there were few incidents. The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety reported only 20 arrests, most of which were for public intoxication. Injuries
were minor. Authorities were quick to act, cutting off some areas to the public in order to maximize security and installing fencing to help control pushing and shoving. But all things considered, attendees remained good natured, made friends with those jostling along side of them and generally went with the flow.
Hoping to prevent a repeat of the crowding that occurred, authorities closed many intersections and planned to cut off pedestrian access if they felt the village was at capacity. According to reports, organizers said they did not underestimate the crowds especially for certain popular bands.
“The crowds are pretty consistent to what we expected,” said host committee Vice President Susan Baughman.
In addition, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol set up high-tech X-ray screening
checkpoints to scan every vehicle and truck passing nearby Lucas Oil Stadium. While
there was not a specific or credible terrorist threat made about the Super Bowl, the sheer
size of the event required the heightened sense of security.
“With these machines, we are able to see all the way through the vehicle,” said Brian Bell with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. “You’d be a fool to bring something into that stadium that you shouldn’t. We’re going to catch it.” A no-fly zone was put into place for Sunday’s game as well.
“It’s really gone a lot better than anyone thought,” said an Indiana State Police officer
standing by at the AmeriSuites at Keystone at the Crossing during the weekend. The hotel served as home base for the families and fans of the New England Patriots. He said nothing was overlooked and that he was proud of the way the public conducted themselves, in an interview prior to the Super Bowl. “Everyone’s done a great job with the
Technology used to secure Super Bowl XLVI
In addition to the ROC, several other measures were put into place throughout Indianapolis to help secure Super Bowl XLVI:
More than 80 cameras equipped with night vision capability were installed in and around the city to insure public safety.
Mobile gamma-ray vehicle scanners and mobile vehicle cargo inspection systems were utilized.
A $1 million, 51-foot Featherlite trailer lent to the Marion County Department of Homeland Security by Verizon served as a mobile command center.
Explosion-proof “Swivelloc” manhole covers were installed to remedy the city’s unusual problem of manhole covers blowing off during gas explosions. With the Swivellocs, in case of an explosion, the covers lift a couple of inches off the ground — enough to vent gas out without feeding in oxygen, which will make an explosion bigger, and then fall back into place.