January 2-PAC notes:
Our speaker was Commander Scott Gerlicher, Public Safety Coordinator for Super Bowl LII
We have a lot of big events coming to Minneapolis. Th X-Games were here in 2017 and are coming again this year. In 2019 we’ll have NCAA Men’s Final Four. But now we have the Super Bowl and that is so much more than a football game.
The list of official events includes Game Day at the US Bank Stadium, Mall of America events, 10 days of “SuperBowl Experience” and “Super Bowl Live”. There will be Tailgate Party, NFL Honors at the U of MN, Opening night events, Taste of the NFL, Media Center activities, and more
To explain some of these activities:
Super Bowl Live: Nicollet Mall from 6th to 12th Streets, January 26 through Sunday, February 4. This includes free interactive street festival, programming, music, food and more. This will have impact on traffic and some intersections will be closed at times; 6th-7th and 9th-12th Streets will have lane reductions. 8th street from LaSalle to Marquette will be closed as will the Mall itself. As many as a million people will attend that over 10 days.
The Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center: This is another 10 day event; it is a ticketed fan festival planned to be family friendly, with day and evening hours Jan 26 through Feb. 3. This is an access controlled event with traffic restrictions in the area. This event includes games for family and friends, skill testing and coaching. An estimated 30,000+ people are expected to enjoy this event.
Opening Night events (“Fueled by Gatorade”) will be at the Mall of America which will have a Security Checkpoint for Super Bowl ticket holders, and a media center fan gallery.
The Super Bowl qualifies as a U.S. Dept of Homeland Security Level One Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR). It is a preplanned special local event that is below the level of a National Special Security Event, but still will have the support of federal government agencies. Under this arrangement, security authority stays with local law enforcement [i.e. Commander Gerlicher] , but Federal resources and assistance are provided at no cost to the local agencies. A Federal coordinator is appointed.
Local agencies who are assisting under a plan called the Mutual Aid Assistance include 59 local agencies from many nearby cities like Eden Prairie and Fridley, but also from Ely, Rochester, Duluth, Mankato, and other agencies in Greater Minnesota. Some will be here the full 10 days, others for a smaller number of events.
The planning branches are divided into 7 units: Tactical operations; Venue operations, Intelligence operations; Emergency Preparedness & response; Transportation & mobility; Administration & facilities; Public relations. These branches are, in turn divided into 41 planning groups covering every kind and place of events, some predictable like credentialing, NFL escorts, EMS, downtown beats, and others less obvious like “off duty events”, weather resource,
GIS/IT, team practice facilities and more.
Actual event planning has been ongoing since the summer of 2016, when Minneapolis was selected to host the VII Super Bowl. The major challenges are budget, staffing, space, and weather. The Houston Super Bowl took place at the NRG Stadium which is 15 miles from downtown Houston, on a large campus that includes multiple, generous parking lots, green space, easy and multiple access to freeways (on game day, those parking lots were completely filled with trailers and vans). In contrast, the Minneapolis site is highly concentrated with no room for unexpected trailers or other gear. As for weather, February in Minneapolis can be almost anything, as we all know. Traffic and transportation is the biggest issue, especially with all the distance to and from events. Private events and parties offer a special set of challenges. Logistics: and the committee must plan for staging, food, heat, personnel needs for more than 2000 first responders. Command and Control must be coordinated with a strict chain of command, despite the many agencies (over 59) that will be working. Of course there is a constantly changing threat environment, whether offered by coordinated terrorism or rogue impulse.
What the public can expect:
1) This is a 10-day operation, January 26-February 4.
2) There will be a significant, visible, FRIENDLY law enforcement presence.
3) There will be high volumes of people and traffic.
4) There will be a wide range of events including family friendly experiences, exclusive parties, official and unofficial events. We will have worldwide attention and high profile guests.