JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As a layer of protection against potential threats at the Super Bowl, Jacksonville Customs and Border Guards are in Tampa to ensure the safety of fans and players.
Federal security officials have been preparing for the event at Raymond James Stadium since the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami.
While the crowd will be smaller due to COVID-19, Jonathan Johnson, who works as an air ban agent in Jacksonville, said all hands are still on deck in and around the stadium for safety reasons.
“Our primary role here for the Super Bowl Customs and Border Protection is enforcing the temporary flight restrictions that the Federal Aviation Administration places on large game in the Tampa area,” said Johnson.
Safety is made difficult by the fact that Raymond James Stadium is not far from the Gulf of Mexico and the Hillsborough River. The waters are monitored for maritime threats.
Customs and Border Protection is backed by several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies who have been developing strategies to protect the public for months. Command posts have been set up across the city to allow local state and federal agents to communicate with one another.
“Here at the event, we are most concerned about all threats – the local threats, the airborne threats, and the waterborne threats,” said Johnson.
Johnson said 55 naval units from Jacksonville are helping with the massive Tampa venture, and he said more will be available if needed. If the airspace over the stadium is breached at any time, federal agents are ready to act promptly.
Another aspect of Super Bowl security that may not be that obvious: efforts to stop human trafficking. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have helped train airport workers how to recognize signs that someone has been brought into the country as a victim of the sex trafficking.
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