Class project focuses on Indianapolis 500 security

by Hunter Musselman, aviation graduate student

Signing up for a Maymester course focused on Large Event Security Management was a no-brainer.  I have an aviation-oriented background that is fixated on security, and my family and friends have had several race day experiences at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

At the racing capital of the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, our group of students analyzed security procedures at several of the entrance gates. The ultimate goal of the extensive project is to provide advice to IMS administration to implement further measures to improve overall gate security as well as customer safety and satisfaction.

Over the past two weeks, our instructor, Eric Dietz, professor of computer and information technology, arranged meetings with local and federal agencies overseeing the organization of security at IMS. Such meetings have supplemented our classroom instruction with an examination of security procedures at large event facilities (such as Banker’s Life Fieldhouse) and downtown Indianapolis, home of Super Bowl XLVI. In addition, the students taking this course have a variety of backgrounds including military, engineering and cyber security, which has added tremendous learning opportunities for the class.

See WISH-TV coverage of the group prior to the Indianapolis 500.

Currently at IMS, new safety precautions have been introduced as a proactive response to the Boston Marathon bombings. The precautions included restricted cooler sizes and advanced checking at the gate. They hope to better detect and react to unattended bags and other issues. We will be taking sample data of the effectiveness of these new policies as well as overall security of the gates.

Our group of graduate students will then analyze the qualitative and quantitative data collected and prepare a formal report for the security administration of IMS indicating proposed changes. We hope this report will provide insight regarding trends in security laxation, customer service and dwell times from when the gates open at 5:30 a.m. through the green flag shortly after noon.

Another television station followed up with the class after the race was over. See or read the WTHR story.

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