INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is rolling out new security measures for this year’s month of May festivities.
More than 300,000 fans are expected at this year’s 170th running of the Indianapolis 500.
When fans walk through the gates, they’ll be greeted with new screening devices called CEIA OPENGATE®.
“I’m actually really excited about it,” said IMS President, Doug Boles. “The technology has come so far recently that we can do it in a way that i think fans can get in relatively quickly it could even be quicker.”
Boles said 60 CEIA OPENGATE® devices will be placed across all IMS entrances.
Fans will walk through it to be screened and won’t have to empty their pockets or remove any items of clothing.
“If it works the way it’s supposed to it is easier than stopping at a table and opening up your cooler and letting us search through your cooler before we send people in,” said Boles. “So, in a perfect world, it should be better. We are really hopeful that it helps expedite everything. It’ll be the first year we do it. So, we’re still encouraging people to come early just in case we have any issues.”
Officials with the company that makes the detector, CEIA USA say the CEIA OPENGATE® system was first introduced in 2021 and is up to federal government standards.
The devices are capable of moving up to 3500 people through in an hour but realistically will move anywhere between 2,000 and 2,500 people in that same time frame.
With the device, users can pick and choose exactly what they want to screen for and they can decide how sensitive the scanners need to be.
“We give you a sensitivity slider so that you can actually customize exactly how sensitive the detector is within that setting. So that if it was getting everything except for maybe one thing that you wanted, you can actually dial it in and go get that additional item,” said Aaron Blevins, the National Sales Manager with CEIA USA. “It allows our security partners who are using the detector to keep their heads up, they are looking at the crowd, they are focusing on behaviors, things like that that the metal detector itself doesn’t always provide.”
And with safety top of mind, Boles said this will make the Indy 500 experience just that much better.
“We encourage people, don’t bring your knives, don’t bring your weapons. Don’t bring all those things that you shouldn’t have brought anyway. But we’re going to catch them if you do,” said Boles. “Our fans even over the last few years are continuing to ask us to think about safety in the world that we live in right now. The second largest city in Indiana is inside these gates on race day. The only place bigger is Indianapolis. We have to think about it in a lot of ways like the city. Just like any police department, how do we make sure that everybody in here is as safe as can be.”
Blevins said the same devices were used at this year’s Super Bowl and are also used at places like SeaWorld, and various MLB, NFL and collegiate stadiums.