Super Bowl fans traveling around Miami this week can feel a little safer thanks to the partnership between TSA and south Florida.
The planning to make sure the city’s surface transportation system is safe and secure didn’t happen overnight; it was several months in the making.
Representatives from TSA’s Policy, Plans, and Engagement and Security Operations partnered with Miami-Dade Transit, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail, and Virgin Trains USA to assess security vulnerabilities within the mass transit and passenger rail system so they’re prepared in case of a significant security incident in the Miami area.
Staff from TSA’s Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program (I-STEP) conducted an active shooter exercise in downtown Miami. The drill gave local law enforcement, emergency management and NFL security representatives for Super Bowl LIV the opportunity to test communication and security preparedness.
TSA also provided First Observer Plus™ training to frontline transit employees to help them understand how to observe, assess and report suspicious activities.
“Local rail operators are well prepared,” said I-STEP Lead Exercise Project Manager Marie Binder-Sealy.” They have one central collection point for receiving suspicious activity reports. Exercise participants are also familiar with the incident command system, and operators have identified representatives who are ready to deploy at the incident commander’s request.”
Local law enforcement conducted high-visibility patrols at major sites around Miami. “Local rail operators have pre-established relationships with TSA’s local Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams and recognize their organizations can leverage these teams as a force multiplier and visible deterrent at their train stops and stations,” said Transportation Security Specialist Bob Melan.
This is the first time Miami has hosted the Super Bowl in a decade.
“Transportation in south Florida has evolved significantly since Miami hosted the Super Bowl in 2010,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “It’s now easy for people to connect by transit between downtown Super Bowl LIV festivities and the NFL Super Bowl Experience in Miami Beach. The enhanced communication and collaboration across all mobility options is critical in safely and efficiently moving thousands of visitors throughout our county.”
TSA’s Mass Transit Industry Engagement Manager Chris McKay said the partnership with Miami-Dade and Tri-Rail is critical as TSA works to protect mass transit and passenger rail operators.
“Unlike aviation, where TSA has been heavily involved in day-to-day security operations since the agency was created in 2001, we have primarily approached surface transportation security as a partnership with the owners and operators of the system,” said McKay.
He believes TSA’s planning efforts in Miami for Super Bowl LIV will have long-lasting effects.
“Working with Miami-Dade Transit and other regional partners has been critically important over the last six months to help advance security for the Super Bowl,” McKay said. “These activities will also provide much needed security benefits for the future. Teaming up with our regional partners in Miami to address security needs is a great example of how TSA works with its partners in a collaborative fashion to achieve one security goal.”