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The Indiana Daily Student

city student life bloomington

Public safety officials ask for preparedness, patience during eclipse

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Officials are estimating that 300,000 people will be coming to Bloomington on April 8 to view the total solar eclipse, when the moon will completely cover the sun. Bloomington Police Department and Indiana State Police will be working all hands on deck during the day of the eclipse to control traffic and deal with an expected increase in 911 calls due to the influx of visitors.  

IU and the City of Bloomington held a solar eclipse safety press conference March 6 at Henke Hall in Memorial Stadium to discuss how public safety officials are preparing for the eclipse. City of Bloomington Mayor Kerry Thomson, IU Associate Vice President and Superintendent for Public Safety Benjamin Hunter and Indiana State Police Sergeant Kevin Getz all spoke at the conference, stressing preparedness and patience during the eclipse.   

Getz said Bloomington has been preparing and planning for several months.  He said over 50 ISP officers will be working beginning April 6 through the eclipse. He said the biggest struggle will be traffic on the day of the eclipse.  

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a emergency response order March 26 for the eclipse to ensure preparedness. The statewide disaster emergency declaration enlists additional support from other states to protect the health, safety and welfare of people in Indiana during the eclipse. 

ISP will maintain the traffic along state highways across the path of totality. He asked that people do not pull off the side of the road to observe the eclipse due to traffic back ups and possible wrecks.  

“We will have troopers scattered on the roadways positioned to handle emergency situations, we still have our other law enforcement duties we have to respond to and take calls,” Getz said.  

Getz asked that the community and visitors be patient and prepare for the eclipse by predetermining their viewing location and to have plans in case of emergencies.  

“We want everyone to come to this wonderful experience and enjoy our community,” Getz said. 

BPD and the Bloomington Fire Department will also have additional staffing April 6-8. Officers, including the IU Police Department, will use motorcycles, golf carts and bicycles to maneuver around traffic. They will also be expanding technology and communications equipment to ensure uninterrupted service while managing increased risks with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The IU Police Department will be focusing on all campuses, especially Bloomington’s campus with 65 officers working. IUPD Public Information Officer Hannah Skibba said in an email that IUPD will pre-stage police vehicles along the SR 45/46 bypass and 17th Street to decrease congestion.  

Skibba said that no officer is taking paid time off, and they are all planning to stay the night and bring meals with them to campus. IUPD is expecting an increase in 911 calls and will be prioritizing life safety. 

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