Preparations for the Super Bowl Sunday are reaching an all time high. Local law enforcement says getting security ready for a game that big, and that widely watched, takes a lot of work. Shreveport doesn't see anything to rival an event the size of the Super Bowl, but the stands at Independence Stadium fill up every year for the Independence Bowl.
"We meet with the bowl organizers, our partners in SPAR and the other city ordinances, and our local law enforcement, we'll meet with them months in advance and we start planning out what we're doing, how many people we're going to need" Lt. Tim Beckius with the Shreveport Police Department says.
After the Boston Marathon bombings, Beckius says any big event, whether it's Super Bowl sized or Independence Bowl sized, could be a target. Beckius says a it takes months to prepare: "a lot of watching, they're looking at traffic patterns not only of vehicles but of pedestrians, what avenues are likely to be used and that kind of thing."
Although there haven't been any threats to the Super Bowl, security is amped up to the highest volume. "I mean its high visibility, it's attended by thousands of people, its watched by millions of people, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. Unfortunately, it's a very valuable target" Beckius says.
Events like the Boston bombing have shaped how law enforcement is protecting the New Jersey city. They say biggest challenge is the unknown. "The challenge would be lone wolf, like the Boston manhunt type situation, where somebody comes out of nowhere, a person who snaps. They're not even part of a terrorist group or terrorist thoughts. They're just someone who snaps" George Venizelos with the FBI, says.
A greater threat may be outside the stadium, with tourists flooding mass transit and attending 47 special Super Bowl events leading up to the big game. "The security is going to be intense. So if you're thinking about it, it's not going to work" Venizelos says.
Shreveport's Independence Bowl brings in millions of dollars into the local economy in tourism. That is because 80% of that money typically comes from out-of-towners who spend the night. That means the Independence Bowl faces many of the same security challenges as the super bowl but on a much smaller scale.
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