By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is the place people concerned about safety during the Minnesota Super Bowl have waited to see. WCCO has the first look inside the multi-agency command center headed by Minneapolis Police. Every public safety agency involved represented there will be ready to respond. The police commander in charge of the whole operation showed Jennifer Mayerle the tools and technology available during the big game.

Only essential personnel are allowed inside.

“So what we are in right now is a metro-wide unified command center that will really manage metro-wide operations throughout the Super Bowl 10-day operational period,” Commander Scott Gerlicher said.

There is a seat for each of the roughly 80 local, state and federal agencies involved in the massive Super Bowl public safety operation.

“We wanted to make sure we have a unified presence so that whether something is taking place in Minneapolis, Bloomington, St. Paul, wherever that might be anything related to Super Bowl. We have all the players at the table and we’re able to seamlessly manage an event or an incident emergency or otherwise,” Gerlicher said.

Gerlicher took on the task of coordinating the operation three years ago.

“So from this facility we’re able to have direct communications with each of the Super Bowl venues, whether that be the stadium or the Convention Center or Super Bowl Live along Nicollet Mall,” Gerlicher said.

A program created just for Super Bowl 52 will be projected onto a screen in front of all the players. The map gives everyone involved with public safety a look at areas impacted by Super Bowl events. Gerlicher calls it a crucial component to managing public safety.

“We have basically a 3D image of downtown Minneapolis. I can zoom into different areas and you can see what’s happening there,” Gerlicher said.

Each blue badge on the map represents the location of an officer on foot. Public and private cameras are shown in orange.

“We remove the roof of the stadium so now we can fly into the stadium. Any level we can see 3D exactly how the suites look, where they’re at and we can click on the camera and you’ll see a live look at what’s taking place,” Gerlicher explains.

If an emergency response is needed the team gathered at the command center can get an evacuation route with one click. They can see what’s happening through the cameras and relay information to first responders.

“It really provides us great situational awareness of what’s happening where our resources are at,” Gerlicher said.

Minneapolis Police tested the command center during the X Games last summer. Police will staff if for this weekend’s Vikings playoff game, as well. After the Super Bowl, they will use it again for the X Games, the Final Four in 2019 and other big events.

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