Super Bowl security plan: 4,000 police officers
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The game plan for security at this year’s Super Bowl will include deployment of nearly 4,000 local police and private security officers, airport-style screening for those entering MetLife Stadium and a host of other measures visible and invisible to the average fan, law enforcement officials said at a briefing on Wednesday at the stadium.
The plan has been in the works for more than two years and relies in part on lessons learned at past Super Bowls, including the power outage at the 2013 game in New Orleans.
“That’s one of the things we took a hard look at,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
This year, officials are working closely with utility companies to ensure there’s ample backup power. Sanitation agencies also are in the mix, with the plan calling for 900 snow plows to be on standby if needed to keep the roads open on game day, Feb. 2.
Up to 700 state troopers will be on patrol in and around the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, Fuentes said. The National Football League is providing 3,000 private officers to bolster security.
The officers have rehearsed during the past year “for all kinds of types of situations, whether crime was afoot or the weather went off the rails,” Fuentes said.
Behind the scenes, FBI analysts manning a command center with surveillance camera feeds and computer data will work around the clock on the week of the game to monitor potential terror threats, said Aaron Ford, head of the FBI’s Newark office. Heavily armed tactical teams, bomb squads and hostage negotiators will be ready to respond if necessary, he added.
The FBI and other agencies have “prepared for just about every contingency we can possibly think of to ensure this is a safe and secure event,” he said. “Much of the work will go unnoticed.”
In New York City, there will be beefed-up security at several pre-Super Bowl parties and other events. The New York Police Department will deploy extra patrols, bomb-sniffing dogs and helicopters to secure “Super Bowl Boulevard,” a three-day NFL extravaganza in Manhattan on Broadway between 47th and 34th streets, NYPD Bureau Chief James Waters said.
For an event that’s been billed as the first mass transit Super Bowl, fans will have to present their tickets to the game before they can board buses or trains headed to the East Rutherford facility. The NFL also is urging fans not to take any bags.
Once at the stadium, fans will be directed into temporary outdoor pavilions at the edge of a security perimeter 300 feet from the entrances.
The officials said at least 100 government agencies were involved in the security effort, but they gave no estimate on how much it would cost.
The conference championships are Sunday. The New England Patriots will play the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game, and the San Francisco 49ers will face the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game.