TSA Supports Super Bowl Security Dozens of K9 Teams are in Tampa Keeping Fans Safe

Friday, February 5, 2021

They sat in window seats – most seeing the world they protect from 35,000 feet for the first time – as they reported for duty in Tampa. The 35 K9 teams came from across the country to support the security operations of Super Bowl LV.

The K9s are TSA trained and provided to law enforcement departments where they are assigned a human partner with shared expertise in detecting explosives. These K9 teams responded to a solicitation for support initiated by the TSA National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP):  Albuquerque Airport Police Division (NM); Atlanta Police Department (GA); Austin Police Department (TX); Birmingham Police Department (AL); Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (FL); Chicago Police Department (IL); Dallas Airport Police Division (TX); St. Louis Airport Police Department (MO); Cleveland Transit Authority Police (OH); Houston Police Department (TX); Indianapolis Airport Police Department (IN); Lee County Port Authority (FL); Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (CA); Nashville Airport Police Department (TN); Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NY); San Francisco Police Department (CA); Sanford Airport Police Department (FL); and Connecticut Department of Public Safety (CT).

“K-9 presence for the security and safety of SBLV in Tampa is critical,” said Kim Vick, Field Canine Coordinator for TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium. The result of this is having a much larger crowd turnout to the Super Bowl pre-week events by the local fan base.”

The law enforcement K9 teams will be joined by TSA-handled K9 teams from Tampa, Orlando, Miami. Ft. Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Atlanta.

“I want to thank all of you who came from outside of our Area of responsibility to assist with this tremendous event and under such difficult circumstances,” Greater Tampa Bay Federal Security Director Kirk Skinner, a long-suffering Buffalo Bills fan, said during one of many security briefings to acclimate the visiting K9 teams this week. “Our shared goal is to make sure our airports, the NFL venues and the Super Bowl itself are secure and the American people can do what they do best, which is watch football on a Sunday. Thanks for the sacrifices you’re making.”

Although the volume of passengers departing after the game may not be as large as initially planned for due to one of the teams being local, fans still come in from across the country and TSA screening operations at Tampa International Airport will therefore go to 24 hours starting at 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. As many as 30,000 passengers will be screened at TSA checkpoints on Monday.  

TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams will provide an additional visible law enforcement presence throughout both the secure and non-secure areas of the aviation transportation venue.

Departing passengers are reminded to be mindful and not enter the checkpoints with prohibited items. Super Bowl programs might alarm the screening equipment so it is suggested that they be removed from carry-on luggage and placed into a bin for a seamless checkpoint experience.