Jacksonville Seeks $1.3 Million More for Super Bowl Security

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Jacksonville authorities asked a Senate committee Wednesday for an additional $1.3 million to help pay for security requirements for next year's Super Bowl.

Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford, whose agency has primary responsibility for the Feb. 6 game's safety, said the additional money is largely needed because of increased security measures resulting from the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

``You not only have the crowd control aspects, but terrorist protection and prevention,'' Rutherford said. ``Now our budget has grown to $1.8 million instead of $500,000.''

Rutherford's request was made during a presentation to the Senate Committee on Domestic Security by several law enforcement agencies on security plans for Jacksonville's first Super Bowl game.

``We want them not only to be safe, but to feel safe,'' said Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, who chairs the committee. ``That's very, very important.''

Rutherford, who said his office will devote 35,000 man hours to the Super Bowl during the week of the game assured the committee that ``it's going to be as secure as we can possibly make it.''

Because of a shortage of hotel rooms in this northeastern Florida city of 1.2 million residents, officials are providing about 6,000 rooms on about a half dozen cruise ships.

The plan is to scan the ships' bottoms and hulls in the clear waters off the Bahamas and then sail empty to Jacksonville. Fans with rooms aboard the ships will be scanned each time they board the vessel.

Authorities are also interested in obtaining a $200,000 underwater sonar device to help scan the bottoms of ships in the St. Johns River during the week's events leading up to the game.

``We've got to make sure they stay clean while they're in port,'' Rutherford said. ``It creates some tremendous challenges for us.''

The device, called a Mobile Inspection Package, can inspect approximately 3,000 linear feet in 10 minutes while it would take a team of divers at least three hours to accomplish the same work.

Sen. Jim Sebesta, R-St. Petersburg, said he'd recommend purchasing one for each of the state's ports as a means to improve security.

The Senate panel also recommended to keep a statute in place that exempts seaport security plans from the state's open records law.