Supersizing Bowl Security for Super Bowl XL

Major control center, perimeter security, surveillance solutions planned for Super Bowl XL


DETROIT -- Detroit Police and the FBI today will unveil an unprecedented security plan for Super Bowl XL -- an effort by more than 50 federal, state and local agencies across Metro Detroit that tops all other preparations.

Officials will be aided by a fenced security perimeter extending 300 feet from the stadium, dozens of security cameras and an FBI command center that will be staffed 24 hours a day for the entire week preceding the game and during it. SWAT teams -- aided by digital maps covering every inch of Ford Field -- will be ready to respond on a moment's notice.

"Including private security guards, we'll have upwards of 10,000 people involved," said William Kowalski, the assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI.

Canada and the United States are still negotiating the extent of a "no-fly zone" during the game. This is the first Super Bowl to take place so close to an international border, and U.S. officials want Canada to restrict private plane travel near the stadium in Canadian airspace. There will be a "no-fly zone" on the U.S. side.

Officials are likely to close the Cobo roof to regular parking for much of the week because of the NFL Experience.

Traffic along some streets near the stadium will be rerouted. Interstate 75 -- which is in the security perimeter -- will remain open during the game, but motorists will not be allowed to stop near the stadium.

Most downtown workers shouldn't notice much of a difference the week before the game, unless they travel close to the stadium. People will not be permitted within the security perimeter without game tickets.

Local law enforcement also will have a major role in securing sites in Pontiac and Allen Park -- where the two conference champions will use the Lions practice facility and the Silverdome as practice fields.

Many of the major NFL events and celebrity-laden parties will take place in Dearborn -- making it an area of concern for law enforcement.

Daniel D. Roberts, the special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI, said law enforcement learned a lot from the All-Star Game.

"We learned that we didn't need as many people inside the stadium," Roberts said, praising the close working relationship between federal and local law enforcement.

The FBI is bringing in an additional 250 personnel, many of whom will double up in hotel rooms. Federal law enforcement had sophisticated radiation detectors near Comerica Park during last summer's All-Star game. "We could tell how many people had (medical) tests" involving radioactive material, Roberts said.

Federal agencies are bringing in more machines to scan the contents of trucks "than any other major one-day event in U.S. history," Kowalski said.

One big issue is getting people through security quickly. Unlike Jacksonville or Phoenix, where people wear shorts and T-shirts, visitors to potentially frigid Detroit may be wearing heavy coats -- and could be standing in the cold trying to get into the game.

Medical teams will be on standby, as will bomb teams and other specialized law enforcement units.

Given the intense efforts of law enforcement, Detroit will be one of the safest places around, officials contend.

"It won't be a good time to be committing a crime in Detroit," Roberts said.

The FBI hasn't received any threats toward the game.

"Our biggest concern is always a lone wolf who would attempt something on their own, but there's no indication of anything like that," Roberts said.

Also in Detroit will be FBI agents from Miami and Arizona -- the sites of upcoming Super Bowls -- to learn from Detroit's experience.