Police Ramp Up Security For Black Expo Summer Celebration

More Than 500 Officers On Duty Through Weekend

Security plans to safeguard weekend events surrounding Indiana's Black Expo Summer Celebration are kicking into high gear.

Indianapolis police officers and special emergency response groups reviewed their assignments on Wednesday, focusing all of their efforts on this weekend's events.

"(There are) a few people on pins and needles. We really want this to be successful," Mayor Greg Ballard said.

Ballard said he knows that one negative incident at Summer Celebration will imprint the city's reputation, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

"We're always concerned about one or two knuckleheads that come out of the woodwork and do something stupid. We're trying to negate that as best we can right now," Ballard said.

IMPD has canceled all weekend vacations and days off to put additional officers into the streets.

The extra officers will zero in on curfew violations, which remains a stubborn problem, Deputy Chief Mike Bates said.

"Year after year, you have the 12- to 13-year-olds (downtown) at 2 o'clock in the morning without a parent. Those are the ones we will target, not so much for the curfew violation, but for their own safety," Bates said.

Police and the city's clergy have engaged street gangs and gang leaders with a message of "stand down and stay out of downtown," Rev. Charles Ellis, of the Ten-Point Coalition said.

"Many of the gangs in the city have indicated to us they're not coming, they're respecting the event, they're respecting some of the appeals that have been made," Ellis said.

Police said they have identified at least 70 known gang members for home visits. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said that gang prosecution has been a point of emphasis for him.

"I can't be more clear we are dead serious. If you're associated with a gang, we're going to prosecute you and send you to jail," Curry said.

IMPD said they plan to have as many as 500 uniformed officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers downtown throughout the weekend.

The Ten-Point Coalition is also recruiting responsible adults to help patrol the streets on Friday and Saturday nights. A training meeting will be held on Thursday at 25th Street Baptist Church at 7 p.m.