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CBP’s Super Bowl security starts with cautious deliveries

Release Date: 
February 3, 2016
CBP's X-ray machine at Levi's Stadium can scan vehicles for anomalies in just a few minutes.

CBP's X-ray machine at Levi's Stadium can scan vehicles for anomalies in just a few minutes. Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett

Truckloads of beer, bread, wine, furniture, lights, portable toilets and potato chips and more are now lining up at Levi's Stadium, home of Super Bowl 50. It takes lots of deliveries to fuel America's most popular sporting event and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspect them all.

The deliveries began Monday and in the first two hours a surge of nearly 100 trucks arrived. Local law enforcement working with CBP expect at least 300 vehicles per day will arrive right up until game time. All that volume couldn't be managed without the unique experience and equipment CBP brings to the staging area located next to the stadium, according to Brian Humphrey, director of field operations, San Francisco Field Office.

"The most exciting thing is the technological support we bring to law enforcement," he said. "No other law enforcement operation or private entity has our capability."

Trucks are being checked by an X-ray scanner. The stacked shipping containers to the left is a barricade that can contain a suspicious vehicle. Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett

Trucks are being checked by an X-ray scanner. The stacked shipping containers to the left is a barricade that can contain a suspicious vehicle. Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett

What Humphrey is referring to are mobile radiation portals, huge X-ray machines that can scan an entire tractor trailer or a small van in just a few minutes. The actual machine is suspended from adjustable poles attached to a truck. The truck then slowly drives alongside the vehicle being inspected revealing sharp images of its contents. CBP also keeps a backup unit on site in case the primary unit malfunctions. The operation is called non-intrusive capability.

The machines can also detect anything radioactive. That could mean a possible hidden explosive or just granite or kitty litter or similar items that emit natural radioactivity, explained said Officer Fred Ho. He said officers also carry small personal radiation detectors clipped to their service belt. If the portal detects radiation or the vehicle is suspected of containing a bomb, it will be driven into a U-shaped barricade built from stacks of shipping containers filled with dirt. The structure, constructed in a far corner of the inspection lot, would contain any blast.

Drivers bringing goods to the stadium, can't just arrive unannounced. Security measures begin by requiring them to register on a website days ahead. That gives local law enforcers an opportunity to vet both the company and the driver. When the truck arrives, the driver first must sign in.

Officer Alan Syto sequences trucks toward the X-ray scanner at Levi's Stadium. Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett

CBP Officer Alan Syto sequences trucks toward the X-ray scanner at Levi's Stadium. Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett

Another CBP vetting operation is underway at San Francisco's Pier 54 from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Those deliveries support Super Bowl City, a fan village near the city's downtown waterfront, and the NFL Experience, a football interactive theme park at Moscone Center.

For both inspections, CBP is working closely with the Santa Clara and San Francisco police. Overall, CBP is employing more than 100 officers and agents to ensure the public is protected during the Super Bowl. The federal team includes the FBI, California National Guard and the Department of Defense, said Humphrey.

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017