Safety & Security

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Cost of Safeguarding the Super Bowl Estimated at $3.1 Million

10 Jan, 2018

By: Michael Popke

The start of the NFL Playoffs means that Minneapolis is about a month away from hosting its first outdoor Super Bowl. When the big game (which could very well feature the hometown Vikings representing the NFC) kicks off at U.S. Bank Stadium, so will an unprecedented amount of security, according to Minneapolis police, who say 41 planning groups put together a security plan for implementation on the ground, in the sky and via dog.

“This is undoubtedly the largest extended public safety operation our area has ever experienced,” Minneapolis Police Commander Scott Gerlicher, the public safety coordinator for Super Bowl LII, told TwinCities.com, via email. “It is massive in size and scope and covers really the entire metropolitan area. It is larger than the [2008 Republican National Convention], and the Super Bowl in 1992 was so long ago that it just wasn’t as big in scope as they seem to have become in recent years.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security designates the Super Bowl as a Level One Special Event Assessment Rating, which means it has the highest threat level to public safety. As such, security officials are spending $3.1 million to keep players, fans and local residents safe; at least some of the money will be reimbursed by the Super Bowl Host Committee, according to TwinCities.com, which posted a report on Christmas Day outlining the extent of security efforts.

Those efforts include the following:

  • Thousands of officers will wear SWAT gear, roam undercover or patrol in regular uniform. With only about 870 officers on staff, the Minneapolis Police Department will rely on the State Patrol, federal agents and officers from more than 50 in-state jurisdictions for extra enforcement. Gerlicher added that Minneapolis will use the largest deployment of federal resources in Super Bowl history. 

  • Police presence will take the form of cruisers, four- and six-passenger all-terrain vehicles and helicopters. Flight restrictions over U.S. Bank Stadium will be in place on game day.

  • More than two miles of fencing and concrete barriers will surround the stadium and nearby areas.

  • Dozens of security camera will be installed, primarily on the perimeter around U.S. Bank Stadium and the nearby convention center. Others will be placed in areas that would not otherwise have cameras but will experience increased activity on game day. “For security purposes, we are not releasing the number of cameras that will be added,” says Sgt. Darcy Horn of the Minneapolis Police Department.

  • More than 100 explosive-detection dogs will be brought in, along with a bomb squad, 3-D maps and new technology to track locations of officers in the field.

  • The Minneapolis Police Department plans to enhance its system for responding to sex trafficking, which seems to be a common crime during Super Bowl week in other cities.

Amid all the special preparations for the biggest event in sports, day-to-day life continues. “We still have a city to run,” Gerlicher said. “Business goes on as usual. It will be normal operations in all of our five precincts.”

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