The final weekend of the 2017 Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration is this July 14-16. Festivities wrap up July 16th and will bring thousands of visitors, concert-goers, musicians, sponsors, and exhibitors to Downtown Indianapolis from across the region. The Indianapolis Mounted Patrol has five objectives this weekend.
- Be visible. All 5 IMPD Mounted Patrol officers and their mounts will be working this weekend to ensure safety. Officers on horseback are higher off the ground enabling them to see across hundreds of people in a crowd and for others to see them. Anyone who needs help – either with an emergency or just directions to a destination – will be able to see Mounted Patrol officers.
- Positive public relations. “We’re here to help in any way we can. Part of that is helping pedestrian traffic and make sure everyone is safe. The other part is we also genuinely want to have a conversation and a good time with everyone,” said IMPD Mounted Patrol Sergeant Allan Whitesell. “If there’s a problem in your neighborhood, let us know. If you see something suspicious while Downtown, let us know.” Mounted Patrol officers are easy to spot in a crowd.
- Interact with children. “Our horses are trained to disregard distractions and they’re very good at it. We may not be able to walk up to every child we see, but if a kid walks up to us, they’re welcome to say hello and pet our horses, as long as we aren’t busy,” said Whitesell. Parents and guardians with children are encouraged to greet Maddie, Stretch, Neve, and all the horses with the unit while on patrol.
- Be firm but fair with all. “It’s our priority to keep people safe. We don’t always have the luxury of immediate and on-demand information and truth in the case of a dispute or accident,” said Whitesell. “But we’ll always do everything we can within the law and our power to make sure everyone’s rights are protected,” added Whitesell.
- Adapt as needed. This year’s IBE Summer Celebration will involve joint work with the IMPD, the Marion County Sherriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, Indiana Homeland Security, and many other agencies like Indianapolis DPW and EMS. Streets will be closed to vehicles around the American Legion Mall (including Meridian, Pennsylvania, Michigan, St. Clair, Walnut, North, and Fort Wayne Streets) starting at 6 pm through midnight on Friday, July 14.
Officers may need to close and restrict streets around the Convention Center, too. “We have a lot of people monitoring the flow of movement in a crowd. We want to protect people from traffic, but it’s no fun for anyone in a large group if everyone gets stuck in one spot for a long time. We’re looking out for everyone’s ability to move around, too. That may be why we ask people to move one-way down a street,” said Whitesell.