STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Security faces 'herculean' challenges at Super Bowl

The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots have been working on their Super Bowl game plans for two weeks. Law...

Posted: Feb 4, 2018 12:29 PM
Updated: Feb 4, 2018 12:29 PM

The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots have been working on their Super Bowl game plans for two weeks. Law enforcement has been planning security for Sunday's spectacle for two years.

"I think we have done our best to think of just about every contingency, natural or man-made," said Minneapolis police Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher, overall public safety coordinator for Super Bowl LII. "The Super Bowl is just a massive operation and very complicated."

The Minneapolis Police Department is the lead agency for security. But the department of about 840 sworn officers will get help from dozens of law enforcement agencies -- federal, state and local -- because it is simply not big enough to handle the huge undertaking.

"Coordination at all levels is key," said Alex Khu, St. Paul special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations and federal coordinator for Super Bowl security. "There are so many moving pieces. No one agency can do this alone."

Prescreening hours before game time

The venue, US Bank Stadium, is smack in the middle of downtown Minneapolis around businesses, residences and public transportation, the FBI said, noting the security challenges.

Events leading up to Sunday's game near the stadium have made establishing the perimeter and security zones "significantly more complicated," according to Richard T. Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis division. These include this week's Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

There will be a bulked-up police presence with officers in tactical gear, bomb-sniffing dogs, choppers and fencing in and around the indoor fixed-roof stadium, which is home of the Minnesota Vikings.

Coping with the brutal cold has been a factor in coordinating event planning and security. The temperature outside the stadium is forecast to be around 3 degrees Fahrenheit at game time at 5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET).

The FBI said attendees will be prescreened at indoor locations, such as the Mall of America in Bloomington more than 11 miles from the venue, "so they won't have to wait outside the stadium."

Such prescreening at other locations "is a first for the NFL and the security plan," said Joseph Rivers, an assistant special agent in charge in the FBI's Minneapolis division.

Screening procedures will begin at the stadium more than four hours before the game, with authorities setting out an extensive list of what is allowed to be carried into the stadium and what is prohibited, the NFL said.

"To provide a safe environment and to expedite fan entry into the stadium, the NFL limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into the stadium. All items carried by spectators will be carefully inspected and potentially not permitted into the stadium," a statement said.

Countering terror

As at every Super Bowl, the FBI is the lead agency for counterterrorism efforts in the runup to and during the game.

It is making threat assessments for the Super Bowl by analyzing attacks at mass events, such as the May bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, and the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October.

"We are facilitating the name checks and records checks for all the folks who are going to get credentialed," Rivers said. "That means volunteers, food vendors, private security people -- the number of individuals could exceed 30,000. That's a huge commitment from our office."

The Minneapolis-St. Paul region has unique concerns over the years -- the stabbing at a mall, the bombing of a mosque and fears over the influence of Somalia's Al-Shabaab, an Islamist movement in that African nation, on the large local Somali population.

"We actually bring experience -- some continuity and background -- to the planning cycle, which we're obviously willing to share, and that we work with our state and local partners on to transfer some of that knowledge and hopefully shortcut some of the planning process," Rivers said.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations also is on hand to be on the alert of "the illegal manufacturing and sale of counterfeit goods" such as sports apparel.

National Guard called up

Gov. Mark Dayton has authorized the National Guard to provide security, with more than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen called up.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

Thornton called the effort "herculean." He said the goal is "making sure that it is not only a safe event for everyone that attends and participates, but that it's an enjoyable event for them as well."

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 32°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Huntsville/Madison
Mostly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 29°
Decatur
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 33°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 26°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 680847

Reported Deaths: 8355
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby757471115
Davidson70180656
Knox38327390
Hamilton34288326
Rutherford32907282
Unassigned22485127
Williamson21226138
Sumner18067229
Out of TN1593479
Wilson14327154
Montgomery14229148
Sullivan12473210
Washington11818191
Blount11784123
Maury10903123
Bradley1066290
Sevier10406108
Putnam9896136
Madison9031178
Robertson757085
Hamblen6910109
Anderson6723102
Greene6548108
Tipton616265
Gibson5594111
Coffee557281
Cumberland535272
Dickson532677
Bedford530386
Roane515078
Carter5074112
Lawrence506369
McMinn503273
Warren496253
Loudon490750
Dyer471582
Jefferson470575
Monroe452162
Hawkins441768
Franklin407958
Obion398978
Fayette391751
Rhea379156
Lincoln376144
Cocke341256
Marshall340336
Weakley338248
Cheatham333529
Henderson331656
Campbell319740
Giles319371
White308543
Hardeman307652
Carroll306159
Hardin296047
Lauderdale292831
Macon287050
Wayne260019
Henry259158
Overton251342
DeKalb241241
Haywood238545
McNairy236842
Smith230027
Trousdale228614
Marion226631
Scott223631
Hickman221734
Fentress212331
Grainger207235
Claiborne205522
Johnson201232
Morgan187114
Crockett180038
Bledsoe173210
Chester172237
Unicoi165943
Cannon156619
Lake154519
Decatur146426
Polk141817
Grundy139120
Union137721
Sequatchie135618
Humphreys132017
Benton131935
Lewis127220
Meigs113316
Stewart104320
Jackson103421
Perry94525
Clay93426
Houston93322
Moore7949
Pickett67419
Van Buren6567
Hancock4026

Community Events