SuperSize Security

By Michael A. Gips


"For the RNC, we knew what we were dealing with," says Moratto, who describes security's job at that event as maintaining a tightly controlled atmosphere. But for the Super Bowl, it's come one, come all--making it harder to predict and control incidents.

To tackle the enormous challenge ahead, local, state, federal, and private safety and security organizations were called on to staff the committee's fourteen subcommittees. Each subcommittee is charged with a specific aspect of security. A summary of their issues gives some sense of the magnitude of the task: critical response, community relations, intelligence, investigations, logistics, legal matters, media services and crime prevention, operations, personnel, prisoner process, special events, stadium operation, transportation/traffic, and volunteers.

Federal assistance was provided by the FBI (for federal crimes and hostage negotiations); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (to assist the FBI); the Coast Guard; and the Federal Aviation Administration (to restrict airspace over the stadium and other venues).

Each group then put their first string to work practicing the precision plays and defensive maneuvers that would have to be honed in time for January season finale.

Knowing the field

As the field on which these events will unfold, San Diego's geography, climate, and culture must be considered when security's game plan is developed. For example, hot weather will increase the likelihood of visitors suffering from heat exhaustion, heart ailments, and other health risks. The security planning committee will thus staff events with medical personnel and equipment such as portable defibrillators. The NFL is planning to air public service announcements advising guests on how to dress and take care of themselves while in town.


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