Super Bowl 50: Heavy security patrols Bay Area transit systems

Lyanne Melendez Image
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Super Bowl 50: Heavy security patrols Bay Area transit systems
With a large event like the Super Bowl comes heavy added security not usually seen in the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KGO) -- With the Super Bowl just five days away, you can see for the first time heavy-duty, military-type weapons and security on Bay Area transit systems and hubs. It's a show of force we don't often see daily.

This is the new normal, at least during Super Bowl week. Local Bay Area law enforcement is getting help from Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response, or VIPR teams.

These are officers from the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration stationed where the public goes.

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Thomas Kelly from Homeland Security said they will be at "the airports, the rails, the ferries, in and around San Francisco and then by the stadium."

Here at San Francisco International Airport, their presence will increase beginning on Wednesday through Monday, when thousands of people are expected to go through here.

"Anytime you have an increased visual presence, it acts as a reassurance to people and a deterrent to people," BART spokesperson Jim Allison said.

K-9 teams are also here to inspect BART trains for any explosive devices. As passengers get off and walk toward the airport terminals, they are scanned by a black box called a Preventive Radiological Nuclear Detection.

"What's inside is... a sensor and it senses gamma rays," Bryan Beverley from Homeland Security said.

VIPR teams are also on board ferries making some passengers a little uncomfortable. Tuesday, they were inspecting the area around the ferry building.

Muni has also added security as the number of passengers increases.

"Over the weekend, we doubled our ridership in the subway, so people are taking the advice to use public transit to get around and it's the right choice," Paul Rose from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said.

VIPR operatives were created following the 9/11 commission hearings.

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