Federal government upgrades security level at IMS

INDIANAPOLIS - Fans heading to the Indianapolis 500 this weekend should expect extra security around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from local, state and federal agencies.

For big events, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has what’s known as a special event rating. For the first time this year, they have raised the security concern for the Indy 500 up from Level 3 to Level 2.

That means the federal government will join state and local agencies to keep fans and drivers safe. A federal coordinator will help allocate federal resources where necessary.

Local homeland security division Chief Gary Coons said this could mean an additional helicopter for air patrols and more bomb and drug sniffing dogs on the ground.

He said federal officials looked closely at the event after the Boston Marathon bombings last year.

"Our federal partnerships have always been there to assist us; I mean we work together on all events from whether it’s a 500 to a Pacers game to a Colts game," Coons said.

This is one of those weeks where homeland security is juggling events surrounding the race and the Pacers.

With all of the public gatherings, they rely heavily on the public. They are asking the public to say something if you see or hear anything that seems suspicious.

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