CarmelFest: Carmel police have a plan to keep public safe

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By Joseph Knoop

The Carmel Police Department will once again be lending their efforts and expertise to CarmelFest this July, after months of preparation for one of the city’s biggest events.

Law enforcement authorities achieve the level of safety and coordination they do with the help of an 80-page operational plan, which lays out nearly every detail of festival security, according to Lt. Joe Bickel.

“We put a lot of man hours preparing and planning for CarmelFest, and that’s not only the police department, but also the fire department, city officials and volunteers,” Bickel said.

With an estimated crowd of 30,000 people per day at the festival, a high level of coordination is necessary. So the Carmel Police Department utilizes nearly all of its 113 officers across the festival grounds, while also monitoring the city with regular patrols.

“The entire department for the most part is working,” said Lt. John Foster. “When families are out on July 3 and 4 enjoying fireworks with their family, we’re all here working, doing the parade, doing the fireworks, CarmelFest itself.”

Lost children are one of the most common incidents, according to Bickel. The information on the lost child is gathered and dispatched by a command vehicle. The information may be broadcast to all officers via text or some other forum, including a visual description of the child, a last known location and the location of the parents.

If any larger incidents occur, authorities from separate divisions may be called in to handle any follow-up procedures after an initial arrest, so officers assigned to the festival may remain at their post.

Storms shelters will be stretched out through Main Street and the rest of the festival grounds, along with hot weather “cool zones” for festival attendees suffering from dehydration or over exposure to the heat.

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