Ensuring public safety during an event as large as the Super Bowl will take an army of people. Las Vegas is determined to be up to the challenge.
Thirty-six Super Bowl public safety and security working groups will be hard at work come the NFL championship game on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium.
The task is no small undertaking.
“We gathered some of the most brilliant minds that this city has to offer,” said Metropolitan Police Lt. Kendall Bell, who co-chairs the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee’s public safety and security subcommittee. “We have a great relationship with all of our partners … the three things we need for a successful plan is communication, collaboration and cooperation. And we always have those when we work these events.”
Members of the host committee, including Bell, attended the past two Super Bowls to get a sense of what goes into maintaiing public safety during the week’s worth of events and the Super Bowl itself.
The Super Bowl is a designated SEAR 1 event by the Department of Homeland Security, which is the highest level of security for large scale events. That designation entitles Las Vegas to obtaining federal resources, an effort led by Secret Service agent Karon Ransom.
“The biggest thing we’re going to need is K-9s” to conduct the numerous sweeps that will be conducted,” Bell said. “We hope we get at least 75-80 percent of what we asked for which would be great. That would allow us to go out and do the sweeps that are necessary for each of these events.”
With dozens of NFL sanctioned events and other planned happenings, such as pool parties at the various resorts, the focus won’t just be on where the game is taking place.
Metro police will prioritize staffing NFL sanctioned events and then work with resorts about having law enforcement presence at their planned special events.
“We’re also asking them to provide us information on any performances, concerts or any parties they are going to have,” Bell said. “That way if anything happens we already know, we’re not fumbling around … we already have everything we need.”
Metro usually has about 180 officers working Raiders games. Bell expects as many as 200 officer to be on duty for the Super Bowl. Additional officers will be placed across the Strip and downtown to ensure a safe environment for all Super Bowl events.
Allegiant Stadium will be on lockdown a week prior to the Super Bowl to allow for setup to safely occur, with only those who are credentialed to have access to the facility. There will be a 300-foot perimeter set up around the stadium, with higher security detail than at other stadium events.
A lot of attention is on Hacienda Avenue bridge, since it will be a big part of moving Super Bowl attendees as it is for Raiders games and other large events.
“Seventy-five to 80 percent of people coming to the event are going to go over that bridge, so we want to make sure we have processes in place to keep it safe,” Bell said.
Vehicle escorts will be strictly enforced, with those reserved for the teams playing in the Super Bowl, referees, team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who co-chairs the Super Bowl Committee’s transportation subcommittee, said they expect private vehicles and buses to be a major factor in the movement of guests into and out of the stadium area.
With the influx of private jets expected for the Super Bowl, the Clark County Department of Aviation is planning to utilize all available airports in Southern Nevada, including Harry Reid International Airport, Henderson Executive Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Boulder City Airport and Jean Airport.
Since Las Vegas is no stranger to hosting large events, the planning process has been smooth. So smooth that the NFL has taken notice.
“When we have meetings with our Super Bowl partners in the NFL, they’re always telling me how this has been the smoothest process to date that they’ve had with any Super Bowl,” Bell said. “We’re so far ahead in the planning process and the things that we have in play and they’re just like ‘Man, we normally have to come in a do a lot of work and right now you’ve already done the work.’”