Border Protection lends a hand for Super Bowl security

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Black Hawk helicopter flies above University of Phoenix Stadium, site of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game, for a security demonstration for the media Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Black Hawk helicopters and truck-sized X-ray machines that are typically deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border have been brought to the Super Bowl venue to assist with the security effort.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed off the technology Monday as it helps with Super Bowl security.

Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske was on hand for a demonstration of the agency’s Black Hawks and large mobile X-ray machines that are used to detect contraband and explosives. The helicopters and X-ray machines are from Tucson and Nogales, some of the busiest spots in the nation for the smuggling of drugs and immigrants.

Kerlikowske said Arizona’s border with Mexico still has adequate security while some equipment is used in Glendale for the Super Bowl.

He said it’s not just the technology that will help keep the big game safe, but the expertise behind it.

“The real key about this equipment is the people who operate them,” Kerlikowske said.

The CBP is also deploying about 100 officers who will assist other federal and local law enforcement agencies.

The X-ray machines are mobile and the size of a large truck.

They slowly pan outside a semi-truck while operators inside the X-ray machine look for anomalies. The X-ray machines are in heavy use at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, one of the busiest ports of entry for commerce in the country.

Within a few minutes, the X-ray machines will have scanned an entire semi-trailer, looking for contraband and explosives.

The CBP also will use its Tucson-based helicopters and Black Hawks to monitor the air during the game, when other aircrafts are not allowed to fly nearby. The Black Hawks are used by the CBP and the Border Patrol for a variety of missions, including for rescuing border crossers who become sick or injured. They’ve also recently been commonly used to arrest so-called scouts, or men who act as lookouts in the desert for drug and human smuggling organizations.

 

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Super Bowl XLIX will be broadcast live on Feb. 1 on WOOD TV8. After the game, “The Blacklist,” “24 Hour News 8 at 11″ and a special episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” will air.

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