Super Bowl 50 is expected to bring a million people to the Bay Area, and law enforcement agencies are busy on the ground preparing to handle any potential terror threat.
Armed with F-16 fighter jets, helicopters and K-9 teams, dozens of law enforcement agencies and thousands of uniformed officers will join armed tactical teams and private security forces to keep Super Bowl fans safe.
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and the San Bernardino mass shooting, the law enforcement community isn’t taking any chances with game day safety, Rich Mason, president of the security firm Critical Infrastructure, told CNBC.
“The Super Bowl is one of the few civilian events that gets to be considered a national security event, so it pulls in the full capability of the U.S. government.”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) January 28, 2016
The FBI will be joined by Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and local law enforcement agencies to provide security during the Super Bowl.
So far, there has been no credible threat leveled at the Super Bowl, but law enforcement agencies have listed their biggest fears, reports SFist.
“A lone wolf terrorist attack,
“Air poisoning by drone,
“A disruption of the civilian communication system via fiber-optic cables.”
— Evan Sernoffsky (@EvanSernoffsky) January 27, 2016
Federal authorities will be working out of a single war room somewhere in nearby Mountain View filled with computers, phones and monitors, FBI spokesman Prentice Danner told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We consider this event an all-hands-on-deck situation. Every resource we have available will be dedicated to this event.”
The Super Bowl stadium itself in Santa Clara has been turned into a virtual fortress with a massive law enforcement presence both inside and outside the venue. The stadium can hold 68,500 fans and everyone entering the stadium can expect to go through TSA-like security.
— Security Today (@SecProds) January 26, 2016
Since the Super Bowl celebration will bring massive traffic jams, federal and local authorities have been training to travel by air and three types of military helicopters will be standing by for their use, reports the International Business Times.
“In the event of an emergency during Super Bowl 50, there will be a significant impact on ground transportation.”
Super Bowl City
The main venue for fan city in Justin Herman Plaza, along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, has been walled off with only four entrances and exits complete with metal detectors.
Agents will also be monitoring social media to help locate and prepare for lone wolf terrorist attacks.
— Sam (@AZPatriot01) January 19, 2016
Even more than Levi’s Stadium or Super Bowl City, federal authorities are worried about soft target attacks on crowded subways or large gathering areas.
An unsuspecting mob of fans could quickly become a massive casualty list in the event of such an attack, retired FBI agent Jeffrey Harp told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“These disastrous acts are committed where you get the most bang for your buck, and you don’t have to be inside a stadium to run into a big crowd.”
Both BART and Muni plan increased patrols during the nine day Super Bowl celebration week.
— KPIX 5 (@CBSSF) January 29, 2016
Along with subways and crowded metro areas, police are worried about attacks on the Bay Area fiber optic cable network. A disruption of the civilian communication system would make their job much more difficult in the case of an emergency. There have already been at least seven attacks in recent years resulting in Internet outages.
Law enforcement maintains the best weapon against terrorism is an informed public. If you see something, say something.
[Image via AP Photo/Rick Osentoski]