By Brad Johnston The Indianapolis Star March 24, 2001
(CARMEL, Ind.) - For nine days in June, central Indiana may be the safest place in the entire world.
More than 10,000 public safety officials from 60 countries are expected to descend on Indianapolis June 8-16 to compete in the 2001 World Police & Fire Games.
Hamilton and Madison counties will be well represented at the games, which will bring competitors from as far away as Austria, China and Nigeria .
Police and fire departments from Anderson, Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville have entered various sports in the competition, which features 60 different events. Events will be open to the public.
Hamilton County will play host to some of the competition at skating rinks in Carmel and Fishers, and at the Indiana Gun Club near Geist Reservoir.
Carmel Police Chief Mike Fogarty has played a role in organizing the competition.
"I think the games are going to be an unqualified success," he said Friday. "The leadership had to cut off registration at 10,000 participants. There has been such intense interest."
Fogarty has served as chairman of the event's National Partners Committee, which has worked for more than two years recruiting international organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Chiefs to support the competitions.
Other Carmel personnel have provided additional leadership.
Officer John Pirics is co-chairman of the three-on-three and five-on-five basketball events, and Officer Bob Lock is co-chairman of the boxing events. Other area departments have provided additional organization.
The Olympic-style events will be held at 43 venues throughout central Indiana, includ ing the three Hamilton County locations.
Those facilities are getting spruced up for the competitions, which are expected to draw more than 20,000 fans from throughout the world.
"We've been doing a lot of preparation for the games," said Adam Cloud, whose brother manages the Ice Skadium in Carmel where police officers and fire fighters will participate in a hockey tournament.
Hockey tournaments will also be at the Ice Forum in Fishers and at Pan Am Plaza in Indianapolis.
"We are going to be an international arena for a little while," Cloud said.
The Ice Skadium plans to do some painting and miscellaneous repair prior to the games.
"There will be more than 1,000 hockey players competing in the tournament," said Adam Sims, facilities manager at the Ice Forum.
"We will have at least 12 officers from the Fishers Police Department here during the games for security purposes. We're just about ready for it all to happen."
That's the story over at the Indiana Gun Club off 113th Street, as well. It will host shooting events, including trap, skeet, and sporting clay shooting.
"With the nature of our event, there's not a lot of physical preparation," said Veldon Smith, a manager at the club.
"We have hospitality tents to set up and trailers to rent to secure the guns. . . .The club will be bursting at the seams -- that's for sure."
According to Connie Israel, the president of the event, about 4,500 volunteers are already signed up. Orientation begins May 3. However, additional volunteers are still needed.
"This has been an amazing jigsaw puzzle to fit together," said Israel. "However, I think we are on target for an amazing display of competition by a worldwide representation of public service officers."
If interested in volunteering for the 2001 World Police & Fire Games, call (888) 542-2001 . Check the event Web site at www.2001wpfg.org
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