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Securing the Super Bowl

by Matt Allen, Federal Coordinator (Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/ Homeland Security Investigations, Phoenix

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proud to support the State of Arizona, the National Football League (NFL), the cities of Glendale and Phoenix, and our federal, state and local partners as they work to keep Super Bowl XLIX fans, players and employees safe before, during and after this weekend’s big game.

Earlier this week, Secretary Johnson visited Phoenix, where he met with state and local law enforcement officials and was briefed on security operations at and around the Stadium, including the assets deployed by DHS to support state and local law enforcement security efforts.

Secretary Johnson visited Phoenix

Secretary Johnson tours the Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) with state and local law enforcement to discuss the security efforts ahead of Super Bowl XLIX

As the Federal Coordinating Officer for this year’s event, I have had the privilege of closely coordinating with our federal, state and local partners over the past year in the planning and preparation for the Super Bowl. Together with U.S. Secret Service Special Agent In Charge Christina Beloud our Deputy Federal Coordinator, we are working to ensure the security of fans, players, and workers so that the game runs smoothly and everyone – including those watching at home – can enjoy.

DHS is providing support in the following ways:

  • DHS is providing security assessments and training to state and local law enforcement, local hotels, and others to help them identify potential risks and take steps needed to address them
  • DHS is continuing our partnership with the NFL with a newly revamped If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign. Fans and visitors in the area will see the “If You See Something, Say Something™” message at hotels, and on buses, billboards and for the first-time ever mobile applications. The message will also appear in the game day program, the official fan guide, and on the video board during the game.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is sending additional officers and increasing the number of checkpoint lanes at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for the influx of fans traveling for the game. TSA will deploy nearly 90 additional Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and supervisors as well as four Passenger Screening Canine teams.
  • TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, comprised of Federal Air Marshals, surface/aviation transportation security inspectors, Behavioral Detection Officers, TSOs, and canine teams are helping secure mass transit locations in and around the Phoenix area.
  • The U.S. Secret Service will support open-source social media monitoring for situational awareness and has been assisting with cyber security vulnerability assessments and mitigation. The Secret Service also conducted magnetometer training for University of Phoenix Stadium security personnel.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will conduct operations specifically targeting counterfeit vendors and local merchants of game-related sportswear. This is part of a crackdown on intellectual property rights (IPR) violations and to ensure fans are getting official Super Bowl related memorabilia.
  • Special Agents from ICE Homeland Security Investigations helped with the arrest of five individuals for the distribution of counterfeit items.  They seized over 4,000 items; counterfeit tickets to events including 34 NFL Super Bowl XLIX Tickets, eight Super Bowl XLIX parking passes, designer clothing, videos, smartphones and even electronic audio products. The estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of the seized items is approximately valued at over $800,000.
  • CBP officers and non-intrusive inspection equipment will scan the cargo entering the stadium for contraband such as narcotics, weapons, and explosives.
  • CBP Office of Air and Marine will provide surveillance and assist the Department of Defense in providing airspace security around the venue.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trained 85 Arizona responders through the Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents and the Hospital Emergency Response Training for Mass Casualty Incidents courses. All of the responders participated in a hands-on mass casualty exercise, where the trainees responded to a simulated mass casualty event in which “injured” role players were triaged, transported and treated in the midst of a chaotic situation that was still unfolding.
  • FEMA is also providing Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) units to ensure that, in the event of an emergency, state and local security personnel could quickly link and coordinate with federal partners. MERS provides mobile telecommunications, operational support, life support, and power generation assets for the on-site management of a disaster.
  • DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is deploying Mobile Detection Deployment Units (MDDUs), radiological and nuclear detection “surge” assets designed to supplement first responders’ existing radiological and nuclear detection and reporting capabilities.
  • DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) will deploy a network of BioWatch detectors to provide public health officials with a warning in the event of a biological agent release. OHA’s National Biosurveillance Integration Center is providing state and local officials with information on potential health threats and their indicators, increasing situational awareness and decision support for public health partners prior to the event.
  • DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD):
    • Cybersecurity: NPPD’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center’s Training and Exercise Team led a training exercise to enhance the cyber preparedness and resilience of public and private partners and venues involved in Super Bowl XLIX. Since then, DHS cybersecurity experts have been conducting weekly vulnerability scanning on internet accessible devices associated with facilities being used by NFL teams.
    • Bombing Prevention Training: Since 2012, the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) Office for Bombing Prevention has conducted 14 Counter-Improvised Explosive Device and Risk Mitigation Training events for more than 650 public and private sector security partners in Maricopa County.
    • Active Shooter Preparedness: NPPD IP conducted an active shooter preparedness workshop, training 150 participants, including members of the Super Bowl Planning Committee.
    • Securing Federal Facilities: The Federal Protective Service will provide protection to Federal facilities in the Phoenix metropolitan area and ensure the continuance of government business and services to the public.
  • DHS Blue Campaign— the unified voice for efforts to combat human trafficking— partnered with the City of Phoenix and the Arizona Human Trafficking Council of the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families to provide training and awareness materials to help individuals and communities identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking. High-profile special events, such as the Super Bowl, draw large crowds and have become lucrative opportunities for criminals engaged in human trafficking.
See Something Say Something See Something Say Something

Secretary Johnson tours the University of Phoenix Stadium ahead of Super Bowl XLIX

Secretary Johnson

Secretary Johnson announces the re-launch of the “If You See Something, Say Something ™” public awareness campaign and continued partnership with the National Football League (NFL) to help ensure the safety and security of employees, players and fans during Super Bowl XLIX.

To help keep fans safe, DHS is continuing our partnership with the NFL through the “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign. Earlier this week, Secretary Johnson announced the re-launch of the national campaign with updated graphics and materials, which emphasize the Department’s message that homeland security begins with hometown security – and that everyday citizens are empowered to protect their neighbors and the communities they call home by recognizing and reporting suspicious activity.

I thank the hundreds of DHS employees from across the Department, as well as our state and local partners, for their efforts to make this event a success.  Together, we can keep Super Bowl XLIX safe, secure, and enjoyable for all.

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