TAMPA, Fla. – Some good news for Super Bowl week security: The FBI in Tampa has conducted a threat assessment for the upcoming game. So far there are no specific threats related to the event.
Whenever a major event like this hits the city it needs to be accompanied by an increased level of security, and federal and local authorities work with NORAD to make sure everyone is safe.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command protects our nation’s skies every day of the year.
“We don’t want foreign or undetected threats to enter our US borders,” said Lt. Col. Alex Edwards, commander of the 125th Wings Alert Division 1.
But when it comes to an event as big as the Super Bowl, they pull federal and local authorities together to make sure everything goes smoothly.
“We have an aviation security operations center on site where we monitor all aviation incidents, be it a drone incident or an airplane,” said Chris Shepherd, chief pilot of the Tampa Police Department.
They will keep an eye on the sky and will also help local people review suspicious aviation-related information that gets into their security operations center and report it to the joint operations center for further investigation.
Between the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, they always have a helicopter in the air monitoring things and giving the authorities working on the ground a bird’s eye view.
“In addition to the fight against terrorism, we also want to stop human trafficking and drug transactions,” said Ronald Hopper, deputy special envoy for the FBI in Tampa.
The FAA has put temporary flight restrictions in place on drones and airplanes, some of which began on Friday morning.
“Leave your drones at home for this event,” said Hopper.
From Friday through Super Bowl Sunday, drones are within two nautical miles (2.3 miles) of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park from the ground to an altitude of 2,000 feet by Friday, January 29, until Saturday, February 6th, prohibited during event times.
Drones are prohibited within one mile of Raymond James Stadium on Matchday.
Starting at 5:30 p.m. EST on Matchday, the temporary flight restriction will extend to a 30 nautical mile (34.5) ring centered above the stadium and from the ground to an altitude of 18,000 feet. It expires at 11:59 p.m. EST but can be extended if conditions so require. Drones are also banned within the TFR.
The FAA urges drone pilots to check their B4UFly app to see when and where to fly.
“Pilots or drone operators who violate the TFR face civil penalties that could exceed $ 30,000,” said Michael O’Hara of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The TFR does not affect regular scheduled flights at Tampa International Airport. Emergency, medical, public safety and military operations can fly in the TFR in coordination with air traffic control while it is in place.
As tedious as planning, these agencies reassure the public that they are ready.
“On Super Bowl Sunday you watch the game and we see the sky,” said Major Andrew Scott of the 601st Air Operations Center.
And, as always, if you see something suspicious, law enforcement urges them to say something.