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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

February 7, 2008

ATF Supports Super Bowl Security

Super Bowl XLII was a game to remember for the city of Phoenix and its surrounding communities who hosted the thousands of excited fans and visitors. However, this city also had visitors who had a mission — to protect the people who came to enjoy the event.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with other federal law enforcement and state and local police provided security at the Super Bowl.

The planning of the Super Bowl began in October of 2006 when law enforcement agencies met to discuss security preparations. These agencies were ATF, FBI, Arizona Department of Public Safety, along with the police departments of Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Gila River. These agencies agreed to a Unified Command Structure which was unique to the National Football League (NFL) who was used to dealing with one lead law enforcement agency.

The NFL had its own security with 3,000 private security guards with 30 security experts working in cooperation with 50 law enforcement and public safety agencies for the protection of the fans and event facilities.

The Super Bowl game was classified as a level one national security event, which allowed federal agencies to respond and participate in its security. This classification permitted federal agencies to provide personnel and resources gathered from different parts of the country.

ATF provided 100 special agents and bomb technicians with explosives expertise; canines and special agent handlers to detect explosives, firearms and ammunition; bomb robots and response vehicles that included the National Response Team truck; a mobile forensic laboratory with the ability to analyze explosives and a command communications vehicle.

The security precautions were detailed and extensive such as a no-fly zone around the University of Phoenix Stadium, where the game was played, to pat-downs at the gates of spectators and visitors. Even pre-game tailgaters were not allowed to have grills, park in more than one spot or pitch tents, all in the name of security. A Joint Operations Center located in downtown Phoenix helped coordinate communication, information and security activities between federal officials and representatives of police, fire and other public safety agencies.

In support of the Super Bowl, ATF’s mission was to assist in finding explosives near the University of Phoenix Stadium or any other venues relating to the event. ATF canines provided security sweeps throughout the week prior to the game at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the NFL Experience exhibits, both team’s hotels and practice facilities.

Besides the Super Bowl, ATF deployed explosive teams at the TPC Scottsdale golf course in Scottsdale, Arizona, site of the PGA Tours FBR Open tournament.

ATF, along with other federal, state and local agencies, provided an atmosphere of order and safety so that fans and visitors could enjoy their Super Bowl experience.

ATF K-9 at the Super Bowl

More information on ATF and its programs can be found at