Super Bowl LII: U.S. officials deploy largest security team in game’s history

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Various law enforcement agencies and security forces say they're ready for the upcoming Super Bowl, with eyes on the ground and in the air – Feb 3, 2018

When Super Bowl LII kicks off Sunday, football fans will be watching the field but thousands of police officers and other law enforcement will be watching everything else.

“We have collectively gathered a tremendous amount of resources to support the Minneapolis Police Department,” Alex Khu, the special agent in charge and Super Bowl LII federal coordinator, said in a video posted by the United States Customs and Border Protection.

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN, the department is using social media to give people a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes of one of the largest sporting events in the world.

Khu said more than 40 different U.S. federal agencies are involved, making it the largest team deployed in Super Bowl history.

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The U.S Department of Homeland Security said this Super Bowl has a few unique challenges including a colder climate, smaller police force as well as several sidewalks and streets close to the stadium that make it harder to secure the area.

Before anything ends up inside Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium, federal agents need to make sure it is safe. Equipment has been brought in to scan every truckload.

“The platforms, confetti, even the liquid celebration after the game,”  Lee Takaki of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in one of the videos.

“Everything going into the stadium, all the vehicles, containers, pretty much everything that is going to be used in the game.”

That is just what’s happening on the ground. From high above, more than six aircraft do surveillance. Footage posted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show helicopters, including Black Hawks, circling the stadium. The aircraft will also be in the sky during the game on Sunday.

While fans will likely want to get commemorative merchandise, officers are making sure what they are buying is legitimate.

They have been doing raids on stores around Minneapolis, seizing counterfeit items including T-shirts, phone cases and even Super Bowl rings.

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Officials said more than two years of planning went in to securing Super Bowl LII. The FBI has run through several security scenarios including a stage collapse, an active shooter situation and reuniting missing children.

A significant concern is how all the ticket holders will be searched prior to entering the stadium.  The FBI has said the colder weather makes it difficult to have people line up outside. Instead, pre-screening for around 15,000 fans will take place at Mall of America, around 20 kilometres south of the stadium. They will then take trains to the stadium.

Super Bowl LII takes place Sunday between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.