TAMPA, Fla. - — Hundreds of FBI agents are joining our local Tampa Bay law enforcement in an effort to keep you safe with the Super Bowl just days away.
Security leaders are calling this Super Bowl a “triple threat”: A pandemic, a large hometown crowd and more people gathering outside the stadium than inside. It means a vastly different experience for security experts this Super Bowl.
The FBI and Homeland Security announced 70 different law enforcement agencies are now in Tampa Bay helping to ensure public safety. Local law enforcement are breaking out a wide range of equipment to help them patrol in the air, water and on the ground.
The FBI also just created an Intelligence Operations Center where 300 FBI agents will keep tabs on domestic and international threats.
“Our people know they can’t take their eye off the ball. They know that a miscue or a slow response can spell disaster. This is a nationwide, 24/7/365 job but is especially true in an event like this,” David Pekoske, with the Department of Homeland Security said.
Mask enforcement will also be key to keeping crowds safe. Hillsborough County leaders plan to hand out 150,000 masks to people in downtown hotspots like Tampa’s River Walk. FBI leaders tell ABC Action News they’re not aware of any credible threats to the Super Bowl, but they want you to stay vigilant and speak up if you see something online or in person that seems unusual.
“Law enforcement is never going to get upset when you come and identify something and it’s unfounded. Nobody is going to get upset, get angry or mad. But we are sure going to get mad when you go in front of the media and talk about how you knew something was wrong and you never came forward,” Chad Chronister, the Hillsborough County Sheriff added.
Anyone lucky enough to attend Sunday’s game will be given a KN-95 mask. Security leaders tell ABC Action News they’ve planned, prepared and practiced for any situation that may arise in the coming days.