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Super Bowl security goal: Worry only about who wins

9:07 AM, Jan 27, 2014   |    comments
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Protecting fans at Super Bowl XLVIII is going to be a team effort.

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That was the message projected loudly and clearly in a press conference at MetLife Stadium Wednesday, as officials from six federal, state and local agencies joined NFL chief security officer Jeffrey Miller to discuss their preparations for the first Super Bowl ever held in the New York City metro area.

"I don't think, with respect to the four teams [that could be] here on February 2nd. that they'll be as prepared as the team sitting up here," chief Christopher Trucillo of the New Jersey Transit Police said.

In addition to Trucillo, leaders from the New Jersey State Police, FBI, Port Authority Police Department, Department of Homeland Security and NYPD all discussed how they plan to ensure the safety of fans, players and stadium personnel at what is being called the first "mass transit" Super Bowl.

The New Jersey state police will have about 700 troopers on the premises at the stadium on game day. Including contracted civilian personnel, there will be about 4,000 people on the premises dedicated to security. While none of the officials was willing to provide specifics, Lt. Col Edward Cetnar of the New Jersey State Police said they are working with 100 various agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that the game and the preceding week's events are secure from air, land and sea.

"Every countermeasure we have will be put in place. Twenty weeks of the season we do this," Cetmar said. "We're pretty good at what we do here."

Fans are encouraged to leave early for the stadium. Security screening will be tight not only on the premises but also at various mass transit entry points in both New York City and the NJ Transit station in Secaucus.

"As fans arrive they should plan for entry screening that will be very similar to what they experience at the airport: walk-through metal detectors, hand-held metal detectors, pat downs, canine teams and x-ray equipment," Miller said.

The NFL's newly enacted bag policy for 2013 will be in effect, and Miller strongly encouraged fans not to bring any bags to the game. A bag larger than four and a half inches by six and a half inches will not be allowed in, with the exception of a clear plastic or vinyl bag no larger than 12 inches by six inches by 12 inches.

Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said commanders from his organization have been at the past three Super Bowls and studied what has gone right and how they could improve. He notes there is "double if not triple redundancy" to prevent the type of power outage that occurred at last year's game in New Orleans but also to protect against weather-related issues that could snarl traffic.

Earlier Wednesday, the NFL and each attending agency went through every possible contingency ranging from crime, terror attacks, extreme weather and more. It's a drill they've run repeatedly and one that certainly had the representatives in attendance feeling confident about the security of the game.

"No one attending this great event should have to worry about anything other than whether their local team will win," FBI special agent in charge Aaron Ford said.

(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)

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