WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security is preparing for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta this Sunday with radiation an explosive scanners screening every delivery from chips to beer and special response teams working to secure related venues outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Twenty-five different DHS entities have contributed a total of 600 extra personnel to the effort to secure the event, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) cracking down on sex trafficking; 40 arrests have been made this week in the Atlanta area and four victims have been rescued.
HSI has also seized a quarter of a million dollars in counterfeit sports team items over the past week, DHS said today.
DHS is helping provide threat assessments at Super Bowl venues along with intelligence, air security, cybersecurity assessments, readiness exercises, and more.
“At DHS, we are proud to support the City of Atlanta in their planning and preparations for Super Bowl 53,” said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Protecting an event of this magnitude is no small task.”
Customs and Border Protection is contributing 149 personnel to the stadium screening effort on the ground and in the sky. This includes the Office of Field Operations screening all food and drink deliveries through two lanes equipped with mobile X-rays, and officers wearing radiation detectors, while the Energy Department screens for explosive and radiation.
Drivers are also being screened, alerting the NFL and Atlanta Police to schedule their arrival at the stadium in advance.
CBP’s Air and Marine Operations will be securing airspace around the stadium with six UH60 Black Hawk and three AH350 helicopters and a Super King Air 350 aircraft enforcing a temporary flight restriction from the FAA, the agency said.
Only law enforcement, medical and military aircraft will be able to cross into airspace 30 miles around the stadium and up to 18,000 feet from 3 p.m. on game day until midnight.
“We will attempt to establish communication by radio or hand signals to steer the aircraft away from the prohibited airspace,” Air Interdiction Agent Dave Grantham said.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations Special Response Team will be working with Atlanta Police to help secure offsite venues related to the Super Bowl, such as the team owners’ dinner. A quick reaction force, which can fast-rope down from helicopters, will be at the ready.