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Super Bowl LVI: Safety agencies unite as huge crowds, cash flow into LA

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Public safety officials host a news conference Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center to provide an overview of plans for Super Bowl LVI. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e889172449988da7d86db93eda219c78/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Public safety officials host a news conference Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center to provide an overview of plans for Super Bowl LVI. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- No known major threats have been directed at Los Angeles, but public safety officers will be challenged by record crowds and large venues as hoards of people and millions of dollars flow into the city for Super Bowl LVI, officials said.

"We've dedicated more than 500 individuals to this effort," secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said at a news conference Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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"We are taking measures seen and unseen, ensuring safety of land, see, air and cyber environments."

More than 40 federal, state local and private agencies, including the Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and others partnered over the last 18 months to strategize for the event in the nation's second largest city.

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The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration deployed a helicopter equipped with radiation sensing technology. Customs and Border Protection will use a scanning device to X-ray vehicles around SoFi Stadium.

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Officers -- in uniform and undercover -- will monitor human trafficking and counterfeit and stolen merchandise operations. Canine units, fire departments and paramedics will assist.

The Super Bowl LVI host committee estimates the event will bring as much as $477.5 million in economic benefits to the Los Angeles region. The committee also estimates that up to 4,700 jobs will be created.

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That massive inflow of cash should provide a healthy boost to the economy, but the additional crowds present increased chances for crime.

"It's a six-year process, from the moment you decide this is the city that will host it to the moment we deliver the game," Jon Barker, the NFL's head of live event operations, said Tuesday at SoFi Stadium.

"It's not the NFL dropping the Super Bowl into Los Angeles. We have to make sure this is Los Angeles' Super Bowl. We weave the fabric of this community into the entire game and the entire Super Bowl week."

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A Los Angeles International Airport spokesperson said the Federal Aviation Administration expects about 1,000 extra incoming flights -- many of them corporate jets -- for the Super Bowl. About 50,000 additional passengers are expected for the game, passing through Los Angeles International Airports and other nearby airports.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said record crowds have visited the NFL Experience at the downtown convention center.

The event, which features interactive exhibits, displays and merchandise, is designed in the Super Bowl LVI color scheme, which meant to mimic the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. Decorations that acknowledge the film and entertainment industry also cover the city.

"The entire city [staff] is working with the community of 4 million people in Los Angeles," Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said. "We are welcoming the NFL experience and enjoying what we believe is a world-stage event -- and one we believe will go down as one of the most successful events in NFL history."

Along with the large crowds, NFL chief security officer Cathy Lanier said the sheer size of the new SoFi Stadium and its surrounding Super Bowl build-out is the biggest challenge for ensuring public safety.

Drones are banned from flying within 30 miles of SoFi Stadium between an hour before and an hour after Super Bowl LVI. Fans will be required to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 while at the facility, which is 10 miles south of downtown in Inglewood, Calif.

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About 70,000 fans are expected to attend the game Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Anyone over 5 must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter the stadium. Anyone over 2 must wear a mask while at the game.

When fans arrive, they'll enter one of the league's newest structures, which cost more than $5 billion to build and holds more than 250 luxury suites, a hanging 120-yard video board and a connected theater.

Fans who don't attend the game will see its futuristic architecture, vibrant color scheme and manicured fields when they watch on TV.

George Toma, the groundskeeper for every Super Bowl, witnessed the change in the event from the league's small investment the game's infancy to the multimillion-dollar extravaganza of today. Toma, 93, said the league used to spend about $1,000 on the field. It spent $750,000 this year.

The turf field at SoFi Stadium didn't require much work, but the league outfitted two practice facilities with new sod and other modifications to make sure Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams players were equipped with the safe, good-quality playing surfaces.

"Such a tremendous team works to bring this together," NFL senior director of live events Katie Keenan said Tuesday. "People don't know all the things that go on behind the scenes.

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"Thousands of people, whether it's the janitor cleaning the building or the person drawing all the maps -- just so many layers come together to make the game go off."

Super Bowl LVI will kicks off at 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday and airs on NBC.

In photos: 2022 Super Bowl Experience

Visitors immerse themselves in the history of the NFL at an interactive exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center last weekend. The Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals will meet in Super Bowl 56 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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