After more than of a year of planning, the National Football League and law enforcement officials said they are ready for this week’s Super Bowl and related events.
The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Sunday.
Cathy Lanier, the league’s senior vice president of security, local and federal law enforcement spoke generally Wednesday about the security plans for the event that is expected to draw tens of thousands of people.
The plans include increased aviation and maritime resources, the assistance of federal authorities like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and nearly 1,500 Miami police officers patrolling the area.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued temporary flight restrictions in the area in the days leading up to the Super Bowl and on game day, law enforcement officials said.
“Here we are now, first and 10, at the goal line, ready to score and ready to win,” Miami Dade Police director Alfredo Ramirez told reporters. “And winning for us is to provide a safe and happy Super Bowl environment.”
While there is no specific or credible threat to the Super Bowl, officials said they are on high alert.
“It is an extremely high risk and iconic American event. Security preparations are structured accordingly,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.
The Super Bowl is a possible target for potential terrorists, human trafficking activity and the sale of counterfeit goods, he said.
Wolf said law enforcement officials are “prepared on all fronts for all threats.”
When asked about how concerned officials are about the spread of the coronavirus to the region with the influx of people from out of town, Wolfe deferred to officials with law enforcement and NFL.
In addressing the federal government response, Wolf said enhanced coronavirus screening has expanded to 20 airports, including the Miami airport.
Among the security measures for the Super Bowl, Customs and Border Protection agents from Air and Marine Operations are patrolling the skies on Black Hawk helicopters.
U.S. Coast Guard boats with mounted M2-40 guns could be seen enforcing transit restrictions, which require vessels to travel at steady speeds without stopping. Coast Guard personnel are also boarding boats to do safety inspections and confirm that charters are legitimate.
Alongside Miami-Dade Police, armed CBP agents have been doing repelling exercises from Black Hawk helicopters in preparation.
Drones are banned around the Miami Beach Convention Center for the NFL Super Bowl Experience, a pro-football interactive theme park on Miami Beach, and Bayfront Park for Super Bowl Live, a free fan fest, during the days leading up to Sunday, the FAA said. The Hard Rock Stadium is a “No Drone Zone” on Sunday, the FAA said.
Those who violate the restrictions could face civil penalties that exceed more than $30,000 and possible criminal prosecution.
“Please leave your drones at home,” Lanier said.
George Piro, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office, said an FBI team detected 53 unauthorized drones in restricted air space this week.
He said authorities have contacted the drone operators and informed them of the violation.
“After today, the drone operators may potentially end up having their drones seized and forfeited,” Piro said.
Lanier, the former police chief in Washington D.C., said law enforcement will have “360 degree security” for the Super Bowl.
“We have security on the water. We have security in the air. We have security on the ground,” she said.