Super Bowl LVII: How officials plan to keep the big game safe for everyone
PHOENIX - Super Bowl Week is here and thousands of people will be in the Phoenix metro area – not only for the game, but all the celebrity-filled parties and big events leading up to the big game.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be partying it up in the Valley of the Sun this week as Super Bowl events kick off. From downtown Phoenix, to Glendale, to Scottsdale, there’s a party or concert going on every day leading up to the big day.
All these events are being closely monitored by law enforcement.
Super-sized crowds call for super-sized security – on the ground, in the air, undercover, and in uniform – law enforcement, emergency responders, federal agents are all teaming up to tackle public safety under one roof.
The Super Bowl Multi-Agency Coordination Center, or MACC for short, is now operational. It's the joint headquarters for Super Bowl week, and of course, it's everyone’s mission to stay ahead of emergencies and avert crises.
"We need to be under one roof so we can have a 30,000-foot view of what's happening throughout the Valley," Kevin Smith with FBI Phoenix says.
Officials have a birdseye view thanks to dozens of cameras at nearly two dozen locations. Dozens of eyes will be watching with the addition of hundreds more at the events.
The FBI's critical incident response group is also in town.
"Bomb techs, cyber intrusions, you name it, we have experts in those fields to help as needed," Smith said.
Public safety officials estimate close to a million people will be out and about this week, participating in the various events around the Valley. Around 50,000 people are expected to converge in downtown Phoenix on Saturday alone.
Flights, drones, airspace
One thing fans are being told not to bring are drones.
"Another thing we're worried about in law enforcement is drones being used as vehicles, flying dangerous things into crowds or over crowds, taking pictures of things we don't want them taking pictures of," Smith said.
Fans can be fined thousands of dollars, or their drones can be confiscated if they cause public safety issues.
The Federal Aviation Administration has some tips for those wanting to hit our skies as restrictions will be in place to keep everyone safe – and that includes planes too.
"We want to make sure that drones are not around the area so not only that they are not flying in places they shouldn’t be flying in but also that they don’t accidentally bump into you," Kevin Morris, FAA Drone Expert & Pilot said.
When it comes to drones, the FAA says just leave it at home. Thursday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to midnight daily, the FAA will have a no drone zone restriction in effect around downtown Phoenix and the Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center.
There will also be a 2 mile no drone zone all around State Farm Stadium starting Sunday at 11 a.m.
"There are some pretty significant penalties if you fly your drone during one of the restrictions leading up to the Super Bowl. Those could be fines in excess of $30,000, criminal prosecution and confiscation of your drone," Morris says.
For airports, the FAA will have a temporary flight restriction in place on Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. That will include everything within a 30-mile radius. The Glendale Municipal Airport will be impacted, but it will just miss Sky Harbor International Airport, meaning flights there will not be impacted.
"So what we do is we start restricting the airspace to ensure safety and efficiency so that things can operate on time, people attending the event are safe. You arrive safely for the game, and you get home safely after," Morris says.
The FAA says even if you turn a drone on, but don't lift it off the ground, authorities have radars that will know and can track you down.