Super Bowl 'Safety Hub' near completion

Sports

POSTED: Friday, January 6, 2012 - 2:28pm

UPDATED: Monday, February 13, 2012 - 10:17pm

Indianapolis' new safety hub is under construction, but will it be ready in time for the Super Bowl?

You can't see what's going on inside the old Eastgate Mall.

The area is restricted and for good safety reasons.

The city's new Regional Emergency Operations Center that will serve as a public safety command post for Super Bowl 2012.

"We have ordered all of the equipment is just a matter of putting the equipment in place," said Dr. Frank Straub, Indianapolis Public Safety director.

As part of its dispatch system for local fire and police, the city put in a major fiber optics network for faster, more reliable communication.

Other upgrades will also put critical information into the hands of street officers more quickly.

"Technology -- data systems -- will be pushing information out to the field, taking things like automatic license plate readers, getting that data in and meaningful and making that data available to our patrol officers," Straub said, revealing some of the new technology his office plans to purchase.

The Operations Center will eventually be reinforced with concrete barricades.

The actual plans call for layer upon layer of concrete, and then a fence protecting an inner parking lot.

Those and other outside cosmetic changes are still works in progress.

Away from the building, Straub says Homeland Security, state agencies and the FBI are moving ahead with training.

"We're in place, people have been trained up they understand what their positions are going to be during the Super Bowl, how to use the various systems," Straub added. He says the city, state and FBI held a training as recent as the weekend of the Big Ten Football Tournament.

Once the center is operational in late January, attention will turn to the fine points of making sure it all works.

"To really get all of the bugs out of the system, to tweak everything. We're really looking at January 16th as we're ready to go," Straub said.

Straub is allowing a built-in time cushion, just in case.

The operations center has an underground bunker, built as part of the Eastgate Mall in the 1950s.

The city is paying for the center by way of a 25-year lease.

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