Customs and Border Protection has been tasked with providing additional security around the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis ahead of SuperBowl LII.
CBP’s Air and Marine Operations will be coordinating with other law enforcement agencies to make sure air security is provided before, during and after the event. In addition, CBP agents will be scanning deliveries before they enter the U.S. Bank Stadium, and the agency will have canine teams patrolling the area.
Around 65 AMO personnel and six aircraft, including three UH-60 Black Hawk and three AStar helicopters, are working the Super Bowl this year, with the dual mission of being the eyes in the sky and keeping the airspace around the stadium safe. They’re part of a larger 150-plus force of AMO agents and officers, Border Patrol agents, CBP officers, import specialists and others from CBP locations all around the country.
Jonathan Johnson, a supervisory air interdiction agent at a small airport just a few minutes flying time from downtown Minneapolis, said teams will be “providing an aerial downlink with cameras mounted on our birds feeding live video back to the joint operations centers back on the ground, as well as providing that extra level of air security.”
“The people back on the ground can ask for our AStar operators to provide video of a particular part of the city,” he said. “We can check out a suspicious vehicle or people and eliminate any questions of what’s happening on the ground.”
AMO has been in the vicinity of the ground for around a week prior to the Super Bowl. On game day, the Black Hawk crews will assist National Guard F-16 fighter aircraft, detecting, tracking and coordinating the interdiction of aircraft violating a temporary no-fly zone for miles around the stadium. If any aircraft violate that airspace, CBP will intercept and determine if more law enforcement is needed. CBP has been working with DoD and other law enforcement agencies to coordinate the effort and ensure that everyone stays safe on the day.
“Our air crews have a lot of fun and are good at what they do,” Johnson said. “We have the most experienced and professional folks in the air serving the American public.”