There is an old saying, “You have to plan, to plan.” That is exactly what is happening as the Indiana (IND) TSA family, airport and the entire city of Indianapolis and surrounding areas host one of the most exciting collegiate sports tournaments.
The success of this tournament could be a major turning point for bringing back many collegiate events. The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis, and there is a symbiotic relationship with the city of Indianapolis and the successful opportunity at stake, especially within TSA.
TSA IND is on the offensive, supporting security with Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) and canine teams. Canines and their partners streamline the process by screening teams as they get onto the buses before they arrive at the venue. A seven-person VIPR team from Chicago is deployed to multiple transportation locations to support high visibility areas.
A coordination center officer will be imbedded in the Emergency Operation Center for three weeks to ensure continuous communication. This work is in full cooperation with the Incident Command Center which hosts city, state and federal resources to communicate information back and forth to all respective agencies.
As teams exit the tournament, they’ll be screened by a mobile screening team led by IND Supervisory TSA Officer, Steven Davis. “We are eager to assist in any way possible and keep all of the teams participating in the tournament safe while traveling home,” said Davis. There are 47 private charters included in this mobile team’s area of responsibility as well.
March Madness masks are popping up all over town, especially at the checkpoints. “In the spirit of hosting a safe and healthy event for the NCAA, the city has been providing March Madness masks to those spectators attending the games and critical personnel supporting the games,” said IND TSA Federal Security Director, Aaron Batt. Batt approved all IND screening officers to wear the March Madness masks over the top of their surgical masks, to cheer on and support the madness.
The NCAA branded this year’s event, “Indiana-where champions are crowned.” If things go as planned, there will be a total of 67 games played, in a COVID-19 conscious and safe environment which will limit stadiums to 25% capacity. With the careful and strategic planning, TSA will do its part to ensure the passengers and fans are safe to enjoy the tournament.