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Friday, January 31, 2014

Massive Super Bowl Security Preparations Underway

Super Bowl security measures have involved dogs, boats, divers and military jet drills. Reuters reporter Scott Malone speaks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the huge security measures in place for the Super Bowl stadium in New Jersey and the Super Bowl street fair in New York City.




It's HERE AND NOW. And let's look at the Super Bowl now and security. And on CBS this morning, John Miller, the deputy commissioner of intelligence in New York, talked about late-night preventive measures.

JOHN MILLER: You would have seen a couple of military jets, F-15s streaking across the skies of New York City chasing a plane. They actually drill this when everybody is asleep so nobody sees anything that would alarm them in broad daylight. But the night before last, they had the big chase. They've drilled it before. If an aircraft violated the no-fly zone around the stadium, how would they interdict it and so on.

YOUNG: Reuters reporter Scott Malone is in New York. Scott, what other security preps are you hearing about?

SCOTT MALONE: There's two components of this event if you want to think about it. One is the game itself. Obviously, the stadium is - has been on complete lockdown since Sunday. Everything that goes in and out - and that's, you know, things from, you know, shipments to the cafeterias, to performers like Bruno Mars who's going to be playing at the halftime show - everything is screened.

YOUNG: And I should say, I'm going to jump in for our listeners in New Jersey. We mentioned New York across the river, but the game is actually at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. People in New Jersey are a little upset that more of the attention is going to New York. But the stadium is there and, as you say, on lockdown.

MALONE: Yes, exactly. And as you get in on Sunday, you know, the security around it is going to be intense. There's, I believe, going to be 4,000 officers. Approximately 30,000 of the 80,000 fans are expected to arrive by train and by bus. And security is going to start as they board those transports. There are going to be people there, you know, checking to see do they have tickets. You know, why are they going this way?

You know, if they don't have tickets many will be turned back. And as they get to the stadium, they'll be going through metal detectors. They will be patted own. And these are people who are going to be dressed to be out for, you know, six hours or so in very cold weather. So they're going to be bundled up.

YOUNG: So you mentioned the security at bus and train stops. We hear that the TSA is going to be involved. You're going to feel like you're at the airport.

MALONE: Yeah, yeah. No, exactly. I mean, there's going to be bag searches. There's going to be a heavy presence out. You know, there'll be dogs. They will be, you know, probably, you know, would not be unexpected to see more of the tactical-type police units. And, you know, there's reason for it. The head of the New Jersey State Police spoke with us earlier in the week and reporters has asked him, you know, what's your biggest concern? And he said the biggest is a mass transit attack.

You know, we saw the incidents in Volgograd late last year, which obviously is tied to the coming Sochi Olympics, and they're very aware that that's a point of vulnerability. It's like any other highly secured environment. You know, your biggest worry is always on the perimeter.

YOUNG: Yeah. That's very chilling. But meanwhile, there's all this activity, as we mentioned, in New York, all up and down Broadway, at Times Square. How is that going to be protected?

MALONE: Well, it's a very different animal. You know, the stadium itself is a close environment. This is what they're calling Super Bowl Boulevard. It's 13 blocks of Times Square, proceeding all the way down to Herald Square. And it's just very heavily - heavy police presence; a lot of uniformed officers, a lot of plain-clothes officers, a lot of cameras, a lot of other detection devices that the police have but don't talk a whole lot about. They're securing it with the idea of this being an open area where people are going shopping. Maybe they're coming out with bags from the department stores.

YOUNG: Reuters reporter Scott Malone in New York. Scott, thanks so much.

MALONE: Thank you, Robin. Take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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