Super Bowl security team 'ready for anything'

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - The security operation in place for Sunday's Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles are "ready for anything" after two years of planning that was adjusted following last year's deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The National Football League's championship game is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and those planning to be anywhere near the game venue of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis can expect plenty of security.

Bomb-sniffing dogs, police patrols, helicopters and a massive chain-link and concrete fence surrounding the stadium are among the many measures in place.

"We are absolutely ready for anything that may come our way," Minneapolis Police Commander Scott Gerlicher, whose department is overseeing security, told a news conference on Wednesday. "We hope it's just cold weather and that's it."

The Super Bowl is being held four months after a mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival, when a 64-year-old American opened fire from his 32nd-floor hotel room, killing at least 58 people and wounding some 500.

Those in charge of securing the Super Bowl did not specify how the Las Vegas incident altered their approach to securing Sunday's game but did acknowledge that changes were made.

"We do take into account every incident that happens and we do make changes to our plans," said NFL Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier.

"Those specific changes we are not going to talk about here but rest assured that those adjustments were made."

For the past two years authorities have conducted over 200 security assessments of the critical infrastructure and surrounding areas in addition to training for everything from active shooters and bombings.

This year's Super Bowl will be the first where there will be remote satellite checkpoints, offering ticketholders the option to go through indoor screening at the Mall Of America before taking a free train to get inside the security perimeter.

Authorities are also asking those attending the game to play an active role in the security process, urging anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it.

"Obviously due to its size and its scope it is and can be an attractive target," U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told a news conference.

"We don't have any credible or specific threat intel but we will continue to actively monitor channels with our international partners."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

01/31/2018 18:25

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