The downtown location of the Feb. 4 title game has presented challenges for authorities, who have had to get creative as they carved a secure perimeter around businesses and a major hospital near U.S. Bank Stadium. But it’s not the first time the Super Bowl has dealt with the challenges of a city center, and authorities who have spent roughly two years thinking about every possible scenario say they are prepared.
”We’re ready for anything that may come our way,” Minneapolis Police Commander Scott Gerlicher said. ”It’s about not just feeling safe, but making sure people are in fact safe.”
Gerlicher, whose department is overseeing security, said this Super Bowl will have the largest deployment of federal resources yet. That’s because Minneapolis has a relatively small department – less than 900 officers compared with the roughly 5,000 in Houston, where last year’s game was held – and needed more personnel.
Dozens of other cities are sending officers too, and the Minnesota National Guard has been activated. An additional 10,000 volunteers are being trained to spot suspicious activity.
Visitors can expect to see increased police patrols, bomb-sniffing dogs, helicopters, officers in tactical gear, and that chain-link and concrete fence around U.S. Bank Stadium.
Plenty of technology such as motion detectors, closed-circuit cameras and air particle sensors will be operating behind the scenes. Giant machines are being used to scan shipments to the stadium. Extra security cameras will be sprinkled around the city, and NFL-sanctioned events will have metal detectors. Teams will be in place to react to whatever comes up.
”Our efforts are to make sure that it’s a warm and inviting atmosphere. But make no mistake about it – there are tons of watchful eyes from the law enforcement and public safety sectors,” said Alex Khu, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Minnesota and the federal coordinator for this year’s Super Bowl.
Because of the dense area around the stadium
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, some security screening will be happening off-site. They also had to figure out how to secure Super Bowl Live, a largely free-flowing, 10-day outdoor event that’s open to the public. Meanwhile, some events are being held in nearby St. Paul and at the Mall of America in Bloomington, while team hotels, practice facilities – and transportation to and from – also must be secured.
Jeffrey Miller, former senior vice president and chief security officer for the NFL, said each host city faces different challenges. In Minneapolis, perhaps the biggest is the weather. He said security staff may need to be doubled or tripled to keep people from being exposed to dangerous elements for a prolonged time.
”That’s a challenge, and it’s a costly one you don’t have if playing in San Diego,” he said.
Miller said setting up a perimeter around a downtown venue is more difficult than setting one up around a stadium surrounded by parking lots. Architects, engineers and other experts are part of the planning. For fans, he said, there are advantages to being downtown and close to the action.
”The NFL is really good at trying to balance security needs with the fan engagement part of the equation,” he said.
Miller said officials also have to take into account recent world events – meaning the possibility of a terror attack.
Joe Rivers, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in Minneapolis, said a threat assessment for the game has included analyzing attacks around the world. He cited the May bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, the Oct. 1 shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas and the Oct. 31 vehicle attack on a New York City bike path. Without providing detail, Rivers said authorities used those attacks to shape their plans.
Local history must also be considered. Minneapolis has seen dozens of young men travel to Somalia or Syria to join extremist groups over the past decade. There also has been a stabbing attack at a central Minnesota mall and a more recent bombing of a local mosque.
He said there is no credible threat to the Super Bowl, and authorities are continuing to gather intelligence. Rivers said his main concerns are low-tech threats, such as someone driving a vehicle into or firing a weapon at a crowd.
”Not to alarm anyone, but it’s not hard to come by weapons in this country and with where our venues are located and things like that, there’s no way we can possibly secure every single floor of every single building that can see a venue or can overlook a crowd, so those are concerns, yes,” he said.
Fans attending Super Bowl events can help by staying vigilant. In addition to calling 911, people who see something suspicious can call 1-800-CALL-FBI. In the event of something like the Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI has created a website where witnesses can upload videos and photos so the FBI can gather evidence quickly.
”Obviously, the best case scenario is that we hope that we do all of this … and no one never even realizes all the legwork that went into it on the front end,” Rivers said. ”They just show up, have a good time, and leave and go home.& John Ryan Murphy had a busy day at the plate.
Murphy drove in a career-high three runs to help the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
”There wasn’t a lot of runs tonight so it was nice to contribute to the ones that we did have,” Murphy said.
Zack Godley (9-5) pitched five innings and allowed two runs and six hits for the Diamondbacks, who are 14-4 in their last 18 games.
”This team is awesome,” Godley said. ”From the top to the bottom, it’s a great team.”
Arizona’s David Peralta had three hits and drove in a run, Jake Lamb had two hits and knocked in one, and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to give him 17 extra-base hits in his last 19 games.
Yoshihisa Hirano got Justin Bour to fly out with the bases loaded to end the eighth to keep the lead at 5-3.
”He’s their main guy and it’s at the point of the game where everybody is holding their breath and you’re hoping you can execute and we did
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,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Brad Boxberger pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 22 chances.
”I don’t think it was our cleanest ballgame, but the pitchers stepped up at the right time and we were able to overcome some mistakes and win a tough ball game,” Lovullo said.
Starlin Castro hit his fourth home run of the season for the Marlins, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Manager Don Mattingly served his one-game suspension for the June 19 game in which Dan Straily was ejected for intentionally throwing a pitch at Buster Posey.
”We had some opportunities and we had the right guys up,” said Tim Wallach, who served as the Marlins’ manager. ”We keep battling. That’s what we say every day. These guys keep playing, trying to win a ballgame and giving us opportunities against some tough guys.”
Miami’s Elieser Hernandez (0-5) struck out a career-high eight batters over four innings and allowed two runs and four hits.
”I had more strikeouts today but it wasn’t my best outing,” Hernandez said.
Ben Meyer pitched four innings in relief, allowing three runs, two earned.
Lamb and Peralta hit back-to-back doubles off Hernandez in the third for a 2-0 lead.
Bryan Holaday’s groundout cut the deficit to 2-1.
Murphy doubled to left field for a 4-1 advantage in the fifth.
Castro’s solo shot to left brought Miami within 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Godley exited after one batter in the sixth and earned his ninth victory of the season setting a new career high. He is 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last four starts.
Murphy’s sacrifice fly in the seventh pushed the lead to 5-2.
The Marlins once again cut into the lead pulling within 5-3 on a throwing error by second baseman Ketel Marte in the bottom of the seventh.
LAMB HEATING UP
Lamb extending his hitting streak to six games, which includes three multihit games. He is hitting .360 (9 for 25) with one home run and three RBIs during that span.
STRAILY DROPS APPEAL
Straily dropped his appeal for his five-game suspension and began serving it Tuesday.
Diamondbacks: OF Steven Sousa (pectoral) will begin a rehab assignment as a designated hitter with Single-A Visalia on Tuesday. … OF A.J. Pollock (thumb) took part in hitting activities. ”I heard that it went well and he felt OK,” Lovullo said.
Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto (right wrist) missed his second consecutive game after being hit by a foul ball in Sunday’s game.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 4.88 ERA) is expected to be re-instated from the 10-day disabled list and make his first start since April 29 due to a strained right oblique. ”Knowing he’s coming back is going to be a big boost for us,” Lovullo said. ”Any time you bring back an All-Star or somebody of his caliber, it’s a very good sign.”
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-4, 6.70) is coming off a start in Colorado on June 22 in which he allowed seven runs on a season-high nine hits in four innings.