Ever since the 911 terrorist attacks, authorities at all levels of United States government have tried to “harden” potential targets that pose terrorist threats. Much of the attention has been geared toward upgrading the security at the nation’s ports of entry and exit, such as sea ports and airports. But there has been a fair amount of security overhaul at the nation’s sports stadiums as well.
It is no surprise, then, that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security worked very closely with New Jersey officials in securing the 2014 Super Bowl, a collaboration that shows the department’s growing security role in the country.
The Department of Homeland Security played an active role in helping to coordinate security for Super Bowl XLVIII, which was held in New Jersey on February 2, 2014. The department took on a variety of roles, including:
- Mobilizing the TSA, federal air marshals, and even Behavioral Detection Officers – all of which were present at the Super Bowl site.
- Increasing the number of TSA personnel available at local airports in order to ensure that adequate numbers of screeners would be present to both screen passengers for contraband and keep long lines to a minimum
- Deploying U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and equipment, which were responsible for checking people’s personal items, for any weapons or contraband, as they entered the stadium
- Coordinating security of waterways with the U.S. Coast Guard
It should be clear that American security professionals consider sporting events to be among the most difficult to control, and at the same time the most vulnerable of all gatherings in the country. With the Department of Homeland Security’s active role in protecting the Super Bowl, the department has clearly shown that it intends to continue to expand its capabilities and availability to help protect the country against potential threats.