INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Pack lightly, Super Bowl fans.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined NFL and other officials in warning that security for Sunday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium would be significantly heightened — a common precaution for such sports events since the 2001 terrorist attacks — though Napolitano cautioned there have been no credible threats involving the Super Bowl as of Wednesday.
That means metal detectors and pat-downs by security guards will be part of the routine before Sunday night's kickoff between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, a game expected to draw about 67,000 people. Fans were told to leave camcorders, beach balls and other things behind. No vuvuzelas or other noisemakers.
The officials released the do-not-bring list to fans, knowing entry into the stadium beginning four and a half hours before kickoff could be slowed by the rigorous screening that will include X-rays and other inspections of bags officials cautioned should be no larger than a small purse.
Banned items include umbrellas, strollers, laser lights and pointers, along with coolers, bottles, cans and various electronic devices. Fans found with any of the items may return them to their vehicles or have them seized, authorities said.
Private aircraft, including blimps, also will be barred Sunday from flying near the stadium during the game.
Napolitano said some 8,000 workers and volunteers have undergone security training and 3,000 private security workers have been hired to complement thousands of Indianapolis police officers and firefighters that will be on overtime and at full staff on game day.
Vigorous security already has been evident for days around downtown Indianapolis, with bomb-sniffing dogs scrutinizing city buses. Napolitano said all cargo to the stadium was being checked for contraband or explosives.
Jeffrey Miller, the NFL's security chief, and Napolitano asked everyone to be vigilant, touting an initiative launched last year during the Super Bowl in Dallas called, "If You See Something, Say Something." That effort drew 110 texts from fans on game day about fan conduct and various, unspecified safety issues, Miller said.
"We have seen time and time again that the public itself is some of our best preventers," Napolitano said.
Frank Straub, Indianapolis' public-safety chief, said Motorola has helped quell issues with police radios since reports surfaced last week that officers in the Super Bowl Village — a fanfest area near the stadium — were unable to communicate with each other. Straub blamed part of the problem on "all kinds of interference out there" from electronic equipment used by various media outlets.
The problem "is kind of old news at this point," Straub said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
for more features.