Authorities detail security at Super Bowl
NEW YORK — There will be one stadium worker, security expert or state trooper for every five spectators attending the Super Bowl on Sunday, an unprecedented show of manpower even for the New York City area — which FBI assistant director George Venizelos said Wednesday remains the nation's “No. 1 (terrorist) target.”
While New York City police commissioner William Bratton said, “At this time, there are no threats against this event that we know of,” the recent terrorists bombings near the Sochi, Russia, Olympics site that killed 34 and the unprecedented number of Super Bowl attendees who will travel on mass transit are a concern for the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.
There are only 11,000 pre-paid parking spots at MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., so organizers expect at least 30,000 spectators to arrive via mass transit. Both of the Volgograd, Russia, bombings late last year targeted mass transit.
“There is a concern with mass transit, but we are prepared for it,” New Jersey state police superintendent Rick Fuentes said.
More than a dozen federal, state and local police and security officials attended a Wednesday news conference detailing the more than three years of security planning for New York's first Super Bowl, and they lined up two deep on a hotel podium not far from where hundreds of police and security workers are protecting a 13-block-long Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square. Among those attending was Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Among the safety steps:
• Heightened security will be in place along transit routes. Riders cannot board trains headed toward the stadium unless they have a game ticket.
• More than 10,000 employees, 4,000 security personnel and 700 state troopers will work Sunday at MetLife Stadium, which has been in lockdown mode for weeks.
• Multiple layers of backup sources and protection were installed for the power grid, which went out during last year's Super Bowl in New Orleans, causing a 34-minute delay. MetLife opened in 2010 and is 35 years younger than the Superdome, which opened in 1975, although it has been refurbished multiple times.
• The stadium will open more than four hours before the 6:30 p.m. kickoff to encourage spectators to arrive early and avoid creating long security lines. Despite the vigilant screening, those attending shouldn't have to wait in line more than 20 minutes unless they arrive late.
• More than 100 security agencies are represented at a central intelligence-gathering center near the stadium.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
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