Security is tight around Super Bowl LIII

Posted at 7:48 AM, Feb 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-03 08:57:24-05

ATLANTA (WTVF) — With a million people arriving in Atlanta for a weekend of Super Bowl fun, security’s tight everywhere you go. With the entire world watching, law enforcement officials know they can’t afford to skip any detail.

“The teams involved in this year’s Super Bowl are putting together their gameplan and preparing for their gameday,” said Nick Annan, Special Agent in charge of the Atlanta Field Office of Homeland Security. “The law enforcement and public safety officials in charge of securing the Super Bow have been putting together our gameplan for the past two years.”

With 15 official event sites where teams and fans will gather throughout the week, securing Super Bowl 53 has been an around the clock job involving 40 different agencies including the Department of Homeland Security.

“You will see far greater police visibility,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. “All of our officers have been and will continue to be on 12-hour shifts with canceled off days.”

The hard work this month came even as some employees missed paychecks due to the government shutdown.

“Protecting the Super Bowl is no small task,” said Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “I want to make clear that despite last month’s lapse in funding DHS employees are and have been committed to keeping our nation and Super Bowl LIII secure.”

And the plan has worked. Atlanta Super Bowl security has already led to the arrest of 33 people for human trafficking and the rescue of four victims.

But with the greatest risk for crime and terrorism coming with the increased weekend crowds, officials will remain on high alert.

“A great deal of work has gone in to reducing risk and vulnerabilities from any sort of incident,” Nielsen said. “But as we continue to stress to our partners around the country, being prepared if an incident does occur is just as important.”

Nashville’s lending a hand to the security detail. Two Nashville International Airport K-9 teams are here - with Aaron Battle and Bingo and Thomas Johnson and Wolf sniffing out any trouble.