MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police believe all of their planning will pay off when Super Bowl LII comes to town.
Chief Medaria Arradondo shared some of those plans Thursday with the city’s Public Safety and Emergency Management Committee.
Police will have a lot of help in securing the area in and around U.S Bank Stadium. Although there will be a federal, state and local law enforcement presence throughout the 10-day event, Minneapolis Police is the lead agency.
They are ultimately responsible for the safety of all, and it’s something MPD does not take lightly.
“We’ve been at it for literally two years,” Arradondo said.
He said law enforcement agencies from 60 cities — from Ely to Rochester — have been trained and are ready to help secure the city for the Super Bowl.
“We certainly got some examples from the previous city, certainly Houston last year,” Arradondo said.
Houston had 5,000 officers to keep the peace in 2017. Minneapolis does not have that many sworn officers, so Gov. Mark Dayton and Mayor Jacob Frey are calling on citizen soldiers to help.
“These soldiers will be in a … non-law enforcement capacity,” Arradondo said. “Most of the folks will probably not see them. They will be in a very contained, stationary post. They will not be marching around Hennepin [Avenue] or First Avenue, or Nicollet Mall for that matter.”
This is a 24-hour operation beginning Jan. 26 and ending Feb. 4. The guard will be used to protect “assets” overnight.
A federal coordinator will help make sure the federal resources are used wisely, and Homeland Security is in town as well.
Officers are also told to make sure Minneapolis residents, especially the homeless, have resources available.
“When you come across someone who may be … homeless, make sure they’re safe, make sure they’re warm,” Arradondo said.
Chief Arradondo says 911 service will not be impacted because all hands will be on deck. Vacations of essential city and police personnel have been cancelled.
“We want reports, we want tips, we want people to be our eyes and ears on the streets,” said Sgt. Grant Snyder of MPD’s Human Trafficking Team.
MPD is looking for the public’s help in spotting and reporting human trafficking. Many of its community partners have been trained — from cab drivers to people in the service industry — to help safeguard the most vulnerable in our community.
Arradondo said the one thing that keeps him awake at night about securing the city for Super Bowl Sunday is the unknown.
He says you can have the best of plans and resources, but it is the unknown that is concerning.
His concern does not outweigh how confident he is that people will be safe and feel welcome.