Super Bowl Security Measures Ramp Up [SERIES/AUDIO]
This week, we are taking a look at Super Bowl 48′s impact on New Jersey as part of a special five-day series. In part three today, law enforcement officials offer a glimpse into their efforts to protect the area during this unprecedented event.
With Super Bowl 48 under two weeks away, security precautions are intensifying ahead of the game and festivities leading up to it.
The New Jersey State Police was installed as the lead agency for the event following the spring 2010 announcement that Met Life Stadium was selected as the Super Bowl site.
Col. Rick Fuentes began putting his team in place shortly after. He said many of the commanders involved with the process have attended the last three Super Bowls.
"For selfish reasons, we've stolen absolutely everything that's gone right, but it's always been with an eye towards looking on exactly what we can improve upon," Fuentes said.
More than 100 agencies, including FBI, NYPD, NJ Transit Police, and Port Authority Police, are partnering with the State Police to help coordinate their efforts. On game day, over 4,000 state, local and private police officers will be situated around the stadium and surrounding areas.
That number includes between 500 and 700 state troopers, who will be on duty. Col. Fuentes calls it 'all-hands-on-deck event.'
"That means that the people who normally sit behind desks, and don't always put their uniform on, guess what? This is what you raised your hand for 10-15 years ago," Fuentes said.
Met Life Stadium will have a 300-foot security perimeter around it with several pavilions for ticket scanning and airport-style screening.
The multiple agencies have conducted countless security rehearsals.
"In recent months, we went over every possible contingency and what would be the way we would address that," Fuentes explained. "In all types of situations, both where crime was afoot and where weather went off the rails."
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
Officials from various agencies said that many of the ramped-up security measures will be noticeable to the public, but much of the heavy-lifting is going on the behind the scenes to protect all areas that will garner large crowds.
"This really begins miles out. The security of this event occurs on the PATH and New Jersey Transit railway systems, on the highways," Fuentes said.
One law enforcement official had this message about how serious the public's safety is being taken during Super Bowl week and the game itself.
"Nobody at this table needs to be reminded, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, how important this event is to make people safe," said NJ Transit Police Captain Christopher Trucillo during a recent security briefing.
A lockdown will be put in to place on January 27th, through the week and until after the game is completed, for the area near the Meadowlands Sports Complex. This is to ensure no question people or vehicles sneak past the security protocols.
"We're being very cognizant of the fact that we don't vehicles in here, even in the week leading up to this event, that haven't been checked, vetted, and cleared."
In an effort to provide the public with a one-stop online source for all Super Bowl-related information, the NJ State Police has launched a special website, in conjunction with the other agencies involved.
Officials have not given an estimate of security costs.