NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Super Bowl security preparations have gotten a thumbs-up from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
New York and New Jersey authorities say there have been no specific terror threats against the Super Bowl, but they’re using a formidable combination of manpower and technology to secure the spectacle as a precaution.
“It is very much a team effort,” Johnson said after his tour of MetLife Stadium. “We are doing all we can to ensure a safe and enjoyable event on Sunday.”
The authorities outlined the efforts at a briefing Wednesday in Manhattan.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said his department is using extra officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and surveillance cameras to watch for trouble this week along the “Super Bowl Boulevard” street fair in Manhattan.
“What we are counting on is effectively the intelligence, the idea of detecting and preventing an incident from occurring,” said Bratton.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, in past years, the “Fan Experience” event has been in a self-contained and secured convention center. But the host committee decided to put this year’s event in Times Square. Bratton noted that people can freely come and go from the event, but they’ll do so under the watch of hundreds of cops in and out of uniform. Surveillance cameras will be on hand that can spot abandoned packages.
George Venizelos of the FBI also stressed to the public “if you see something, say something.”
New Jersey State Police will deploy up to 700 troopers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Another several hundred officers will be on rail platforms, at bus stations and aboard trains, according to police.
A 24-hour federal command center in New Jersey is monitoring domestic and international intelligence.
For law enforcement the Super Bowl and the events leading up to the big game are the ultimate test, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
More than 100 security specialists are working behind the scenes to keep the event safe.
“They are looking at every single aspect of the game,” New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said.
Fans are being asked to arrive early. Security gates at MetLife Stadium will open at 2 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:25 p.m.
Fans entering the stadium will pass through airport-level security. Heated tents will be set up so fans won’t be standing out in the cold waiting to file into the venue.
Authorities also are studying terror attacks prior to the Winter Olympics in Sochi for lessons on how to better protect mass transit.
At least one public safety concern has eased. The weather forecast calls for chilly but dry conditions Sunday, meaning officials no longer have to worry about how to transport 80,000 people to and from the stadium in dangerous conditions.
“It’s a tremendous relief,” Fuentes said. “That probably takes 70 percent or so of the issues out of our mind.”
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