Border authorities tackle Super Bowl security from air, land and sea

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MIAMI (NEXSTAR) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is playing defense during the big game as they take the field for the entire South Florida region.

“We’re part of a huge law enforcement team down here in South Florida to ensure the integrity and security of both the game itself and the events leading up to it,” said Diane Sabatino, the Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Miami and Tampa areas and the lead for CBP’s role in Super Bowl security. “We have a number of missions in support of the national special security event.”

Around 150 officers will patrol the skies to enforce the no-fly zone, sweep the oceans with interceptor boats, operate X-ray machines for people as well as vehicles entering the venue, scan the area for counterfeit merchandise and train local law enforcement to rescue human trafficking victims.

While the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are getting ready for Sunday, CBP kicked off its efforts two years ago to further coordinate with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

For instance, CBP Air and Marine Operations command vehicle is teaming up with a Miami-Dade Police Department command vehicle.

“Between the two, they’ll be able to provide video footage to all the command posts around the city, providing real-time information that’s critical when an incident takes place,” said Eddie Alvarez, the lead planner for CBP in Miami.

About 1,000 miles to the north, CBP planners in Washington, D.C., are getting information from those on the ground in Miami.

“In addition to sharing information, we can better understand the nature of a request, how to meet it, who is best to act on the request, and ensure all the important information is communicated to get that request met,” said Dwayne Myal, the lead planner at CBP headquarters in Washington for the agency’s Super Bowl security efforts.

Safeties in the air and defensive backs on the water in Miami include many helicopters, planes and boats. If a threat is detected, choppers and boats can drop in special response teams to the scene at a moment’s notice.

“We fill in the gaps in capabilities state and local agencies don’t have,” said Martin Wade, Director, Miami Air and Marine Branch and lead for Air and Marine Operations at the Super Bowl. “That’s part of why we get asked to participate in events like this: the value we add to the security operation.”

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