One of the biggest sporting events of the year is in the books. The winners have been declared, the confetti has been dropped, and the MVP was named. It was an exciting game for the 100+ million viewers who tuned in to watch the American football game, but it was probably more exciting for the 62,000 people in the stadium.
That’s 62,000 in the stadium, but there were also many more in the hotels, restaurants, bars, stores, and homes in the area surrounding the stadium – potentially hundreds of thousands if not millions of people gathered in a small area in the state of Florida. As Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf said in a January press release. “While there are no specific, credible threats against the Super Bowl, an event of this size and profile creates a potential target for violent actors, cyber-crimes, counterfeit marketers, and even human trafficking.”
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website, there were many seen and unseen activities law enforcement personnel were conducting to protect the people in the area, including:
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): conducting venue, infrastructure, and cybersecurity assessments.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): providing extensive air and maritime security and tactical operations support to ensure that the areas around the events surrounding Super Bowl LIV are safe.
- ICE-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI): working with CBP to support efforts to identify and investigate the sale of counterfeit items.
- Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD): providing biological, radiological, and nuclear detection technologies and subject matter experts to detect and prevent potential threats.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): working with partners for more than a year on consequence management planning.
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA): deploying a large surge force of Transportation Security Officers to South Florida in order to accommodate increased passenger traffic at airports. TSAs Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams are augmenting law enforcement operations at aviation and surface venues throughout South Florida to provide additional security for those using mass transit.
- U.S. Secret Service (USSS): working with local law enforcement to secure the event through a variety of measures. USSS efforts include extensive planning, preventive measures, support to security operations, and emergency preparedness.
- U.S. Coast Guard (USCG): providing maritime security to help secure South Florida’s waterways.
While we don’t’ know exactly what technologies and equipment were utilized by these agencies, we can tell you the types of technologies that can be used for sporting event scenarios.
Large sporting events are high-risk targets for malicious radiation threats. Safety and security teams need to be armed with the proper tools to monitor and detect radiation threats prior to and during these events to help ensure a safe and successful event. Fans should be monitored near the property and entering the stadium. Baseline perimeter scans should be conducted prior to the event and monitored for changes during the event to ensure that no fans carried sources into the stadium, no sources were placed in high traffic areas, and no vehicles in motion were armed with radioactive devices.
Here are five Radiation Detection Technologies that can be used at a stadium:
- Personal Radiation Detector (PRD) – a pager-sized instrument used for gamma detection, gamma ID, and neutron detection. Police officers wear this PRD as a primary means of locating sources as they walk the event.
- Spectroscopic Area Monitors – cone-shaped devices that detect and identify radiation on location and can automatically transmit data to a specialist, miles away for review and further instruction. These types of instruments allow safety and security personnel to quickly and safely identify and address radiation threats. Units can be positioned at potentially dangerous locations to alert nearby personnel via a phone app or to a remote command center.
- Radiation Detection Backpacks – products that are ideal for field use to quickly locate orphaned sources, radiation contamination and potential malicious intent sources without being highly visible to the crowd. Officers can strap the backpack on, and unobtrusively locate and very rapidly detect gamma-emitting radioactive sources in large areas.
- Mobile Detection System – an advanced mobile solution for radiation survey, patrol and isotope identification in applications such as nuclear incident response, radiological hotspot identification, environmental contamination detection and routine security surveillance. Some systems make it possible to easily survey an area before an event to determine the baseline radiation contour and automatically adjust alarms to eliminate false positives without reducing detection sensitivity.
- Handheld Radiation Isotope Identifier (RIID) – a device used to search for materials that could make a dirty bomb, by providing the exact isotope of the radioactive material in order to assess the potential threat and quickly initiate a plan of action.
We have created a diagram of a typical sporting event scenario, and outlined the appropriate places where these types of radiation monitoring and detection equipment can be placed. You can view it here: Sporting Event Radiation Monitoring document and diagram.
In addition to radiation monitoring, law enforcement personnel can also be armed with other types of technologies to help protect the public.
- Narcotics analyzers give law enforcement personnel field identification capability for many new high priority alarm narcotics, opioids, and synthetic drugs, including fentanyl derivatives.
- Using a material identification device, border control officers can identify a broad range of unknown chemicals and explosives in the field quickly, safely, and confidently. It can ascertain unknown solids and liquids — from illegal narcotics and synthetic drugs, to explosives and chemical warfare agents, to industrial chemicals and precursors.
- Chemical identification systems enable hazmat, law enforcement, military and other first responders to obtain accurate identification of chemicals, explosives and hazardous materials in seconds, even through sealed translucent containers.
If you want to know more about threat detection technologies, visit the safety and security section of our website, or download our free ebook: A Practical Guide to Safety and Security Threat Detection Technology.
And if you want to know more about the biggest U.S. football event….next year’s will be played on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Florida. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
We have no idea who will be playing in it, but we can be sure law enforcement personnel are already planning for it.