City, feds team up for high-tech Super Bowl security
Indianapolis is boosting security in preparation for Super Bowl XLVI. Local authorities have joined forces with Homeland Security, the FBI, the Secret Service, and the National Guard. Coordinating all of the agencies has been a big job, but so far has been successful.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub says security will continue to ramp up until game day. "On Super Bowl Sunday, Lucas Oil and the White House will enjoy the same level of security," he said.
You've probably seen the many police officers patrolling Super Bowl Village downtown, but there are dozens more that you haven't seen. Straub says the city has officers on the street at all hours of the day and night. Some of those officers are even patrolling from rooftops or on horseback. The idea is to be visible and to make visitors visible to them.
Crowds have been thick in downtown Indianapolis since the Super Bowl Village opened last week, but that doesn't mean you can get lost in the crowd. 85 cameras are constantly scanning the 3 block stretch between the Convention Center and the Banker's Life Fieldhouse. Straub says they are also utilizing analytical software that looks for suspicious or unusual movements.
"If someone is doing something that is out of the norm in the crowd, the camera will actually hone in on that type of activity," Straub says. The software knows what normal patterns are. If someone puts down a package and walks away from it, the software will recognize the abnormal behavior and alert the authorities. The response time is immediate.
When Indianapolis bid for the Super Bowl four years ago, this technology had not been adapted for use. Now, it is the foundation of what authorities hope will keep everyone safe from now until game day.
Straub also touts the cooperation and coordination of all the agencies involved as key in this operation.
"The organizations involved have all been very generous", he said. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol donated 6 observation pods, which lift about 20 feet into the air. The pods are heated and have the ability to communicate with the crowd and the people around it.
Greg Lambert of US Border Patrol says the pods offer a better view. "A camera tends to have a myopic view if you put it in the air where as a person can get a 360."
Other systems that detect biological, chemical and radioactive agents are being used. Some officers are being deployed with radiation detectors looking for devices. And the responders know exactly what to do if one of these devices is detected. They can even tell you exactly how long it would take you to evacuate Lucas Oil Stadium based on your seats.
Straub says he is confident that the city has the ability to see things coming, to respond to things, and if something does happen, they have the means to respond quickly and effectively. His main goal is "to make sure that everybody feels safe and everybody is able to really enjoy themselves and get around and see the events they want to see."