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Experts: Clock ticking to form Super Bowl security plan

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shows a

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shows a new street sign in Times Square after the National Football League owners awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York. (May 25, 2010) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The Super Bowl at the Meadowlands might be 44 months off, but security experts said the clock is ticking to form a plan to protect the stadium and the crowd during one of the world's most watched annual events.

"Four years is really not that long of a time to plan for this kind of mega-event," said William Besse, a vice president of Andrews International, which has provided personnel and consulting for recent Olympics and the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament.

Appropriately called "the playbook," the final security document would likely evolve over years and include instructions for dozens of security layers, ranging from crowd control to international terrorism intelligence, Besse said.

"It was the Olympics after Munich that the lightbulb went off that these big sports events, especially an event like a Super Bowl in New York, represents a No. 1 target for international extremists," he said.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), the ranking Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he welcomed the Super Bowl to the New York City area, and said the city and New Jersey would be well prepared.

"Every World Series, every U.S. Open, there is threat, but if anyone is equipped to deal with it, it's New York."

Robert Strang, the CEO of security consulting firm Investigative Management Group, agreed that from a security point of view, the New York City area was well placed to handle the situation.

"Look at the NYPD alone, just counterterrorism is a thousand police officers," he said. "Other big cities do security well, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, but . . . everyone involved in law enforcement here is in sync. New York is the model."

Michael Sapraicone, a former NYPD detective and president of Squad Security, said the NFL employs former FBI agents to oversee security plans at games in the United States as well as those played annually in major cities overseas. Based on the league's successful experience with previous Super Bowls, Sapraicone said a template was already in place for 2014 that would only need updating.The league "knows what it's doing, they do it every year. They'll take their plan to the local agencies and say 'What can you do to supplement this?' " he said.

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