By Lauren Wanko
The two teams on the field will be the main focus Super Bowl Sunday. Off the field, there’s another team working overtime — on security measures.
“No one attending this great American event should have worry about anything except whether or not their favorite team will win,” said NJ Transit Police Chief Christopher Trucillo.
More than 4,000 security personnel will be on the job during the Super Bowl. New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes calls it “an all hands on deck event.” Homeland Security, New Jersey Transit Police and the FBI are among about 100 agencies tasked with keeping everyone safe.
“Especially in the last year this preparation has gotten to be extremely intense,” Fuentes said. “NFL hosted a series of scenarios this morning where probably for about six or seven times in recent months we went over every possible contingency and what would be the way we would address that.”
The FBI set up a joint operation center filled with analysts from federal, state and local agencies.
“During a special event like the Super Bowl, the joint operation center operates in watch mode, watching specifically for terror related activity,” said Aaron Ford of the FBI. “The joint operation center begins operating on a 24-hour basis the week prior to the Super Bowl.”
As fans arrive on game day, they should expect screenings similar to airport security.
“We will utilize walk through, hand held medal detectors, pat down searches, canine teams and X-ray equipment. We encourage fans not to bring any bags with them,” said Jeff Miller of the NFL.
The big game is being dubbed the Mass Transit Super Bowl.
There are about 28,000 parking spaces available around the stadium but on game day that number will be scaled back to about 12,000 spaces. That’s because of the security parameters set up, tents and media-staging areas here.
The Port Authority Police Department says mass transit is ready for a mass of travelers.
“At the Port Authority, we’re used to mass transit. We do this every day, we are well prepared. We have drills probably every other month at the airport at the path stations,” said Michael Fedorko.
Hackensack University Medical Center will set up a mobile satellite emergency department on scene. Bad weather is always a concern too. About 800 to 900 plows are ready for snow. Despite hundreds of hours of preparation, officials hope on game day their work will go unnoticed.