Indiana venues increasing security after Paris attacks

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INDIANAPOLIS (November 16, 2015) - Colts fans, Pacers fans, concertgoers and others should be prepared for tighter security in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris.

Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons says there will be a visible and concealed increase in security at Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“I think the difference will be, you’ll see more personnel outside in the outer perimeter,” Coons said.  “Whether they are uniform or non uniform.”

The NFL released a statement announcing the larger security presence at football games across the country.  The statement also reinforced the league’s Clear Bag policy.

“We strongly recommend that fans do not bring bags with them to the stadium. If it is essential to bring a bag, it must be in compliance with the clear bag policy which requires that it be made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and not exceed 12" x 6" x 12.  It is important that all fans comply with these requirements, and we appreciate their efforts to cooperate with these security measures.”

Officials at Ohio State University announced Monday they would implement the NFL’s clear bag policy starting with this weekend’s game against Michigan State.

No Indiana schools have made the same announcement, although officials at Butler and Purdue said the issue had been discussed.

Indiana Pacers President and COO, Rick Fuson released the following statement:

“We do not reveal security steps for obvious security reasons. We have taken many visible and unseen security steps but will not disclose anything beyond that. Without being specific, we continue to work with local, state, federal law enforcement and homeland security officials on this issue as we do on a regular basis.”

Coons said there is no known credible threat to Central Indiana, but local and federal public safety departments around Indianapolis have trained for the type of situation that unfolded in Paris.  Specifically, he said departments have trained for a bomb or shooting at a large sporting event being used as a distraction for attacks on other sites.

“Because we know in the past that there’s been attacks where it’s drawn resources,” Coons said.  “Like they do an attack in a certain area to draw resources, and then their attack is really on another venue or another site.”

Live Nation announced heightened security measures at their venues nationwide.

“Due to the recent events in Paris and in an abundance of caution we have implemented heightened security procedures globally. However, because of the sensitive nature of these protocols, we cannot elaborate further on the specific details.”

Live Nation venues around Indianapolis include Old National Centre (Murat, Egyptian Room), The Vogue, Sursa Performance Hall, Reardon Auditorium, 8 Seconds Saloon and Clowes Memorial Hall.

Christian Webb, General Manager of Old National Centre said tighter security protocols “kicked into gear” on Friday after the Paris attacks.  Webb says concert goers entering Old National Center are now being patted down and scanned with handheld metal detectors at the entrance, in addition to bag checks which were already being performed.

Old National Centre has also added more private security guards and IMPD officers to monitor the building and property.

The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel is also adding more security, although the specifics are not being made public.  Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Anne O’Brien released the following statement:

“The safety of our venue is of utmost importanceWe have heightened security measures at our venues since the terror attacks in Paris. For security purposes, we are unable to publicly share specific details about our procedures.”

Even with no known threat to central Indiana, Coons urges anyone visiting a public place to take the time to observe their surroundings.

“Know where the exits are,” he said.  “Keep your eyes open to what and who are around you.”

Coons did not have any time frame for how long the added security measures will be recommended for public venues.

“When events happen, things change,” he said.  “Sometimes for good.”

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