- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2005

Security will be tight at, around and above the site of Super Bowl XXXIX tomorrow in Jacksonville, Fla., with agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, and other federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies looking to protect an expected 83,000 spectators from a possible terrorist attack.

CBP spokesman Barry J. Morrissey said the agents and officers will be in place to “secure the air, waters above and around the stadium” and to assist with protecting the numerous entrances to Jacksonville’s Alltel Stadium, located near the St. Johns River in the heart of the city.

Alltel Stadium, formerly known as the Gator Bowl, is one of the newest and most modern sports complexes in the world — the result of a $135 million renovation.

More than 50 law-enforcement agencies are involved in the security effort, including 3,500 agents and officers. Hundreds of manholes in the city already have been locked down. The stadium has been surrounded with chain-link fencing and a concrete barrier.

In coordination with the FBI and other federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies, CBP’s Offices of Air and Marine Operations (AMO) will patrol a 30-mile no-fly zone above Jacksonville and provide assistance sorting, intercepting, investigating and escorting away suspect aircraft that approach the airspace, Mr. Morrissey said.

Simultaneously, others in the National Airspace Security Operations Center near Washington and the Air and Marine Operations Center in Riverside, Calif., will be monitoring the airspace to provide real-time notification of any threats to the secure area, Mr. Morrissey said.

Marine units from the AMO and the Border Patrol will be responsible for patrolling the St. Johns River, as well as the many moored cruise ships that will be used as floating hotels around the Jacksonville area. Field Operations personnel will patrol these ships from their location on land.

U.S. Coast Guard divers also will search the river to inspect the hulls of the ships.

Using large-scale X-ray equipment capable of scanning vehicles of all sizes, the Field Operations units will inspect cargo entering the Alltel Stadium area.

“These events will feature some of the most advanced assets used today to protect our nation,” Mr. Morrissey said, adding that the security net will include UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, fixed-wing interceptors fitted with crowd-surveillance cameras, other light enforcement helicopters, several high-speed Midnight Express interceptor boats, and other CBP and Border Patrol vessels.

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