LAS VEGAS - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is hosting some special guests this week who are helping to keep the public safe and secure leading up to and in the days after Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has classified Super Bowl LVIII as a Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) Level 1, which qualifies it for extensive federal support. More than 350 DHS personnel are currently involved in dedicated security operations in and around the Las Vegas area.
More than 60 TSA explosive detection canines and their TSA handlers are in town to assist with security operations at key venues throughout Las Vegas as well as at Harry Reid International Airport (LAS). These working canines are specially trained to detect explosives and explosive components. Some of the teams work regularly at LAS while others have come from more than 20 airports from across the country.
At the airport, TSA’s use of explosive detection canines significantly enhances the efficiency of the security screening process, serving as an added layer of security. Away from the airport, the dogs can work in a variety of locations including key Super Bowl venues and use their keen sense of smell to augment existing security efforts.
The canines have been trained to navigate among large groups of people to pinpoint the source of an explosive odor, often without the source being aware and even if the source is mobile. The handlers are trained to read the dog’s behavior when it indicates an explosive scent has been detected. If a dog alerts its handler to something suspicious, TSA follows an established procedure to resolve the alarm.
TSA’s canines are regularly tested to ensure they maintain excellent scent capabilities. While they are sociable, they are working canines so they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.
Post-Super Bowl LVIII travel rush`
Following the football game Sunday night, TSA is prepared for an influx of travelers at LAS. Current projections show that on Monday, Feb. 12, TSA will screen more than 118,000 departing passengers and crew at the airport’s security checkpoints.
This is likely going to break a record for the number of people screened at LAS during a 24-hour period and security operations will be extremely busy throughout the day. The previous record for number of people screened by TSA at LAS is 103,499 on Sunday, October 29, 2023. Projections are also showing that Tuesday will continue to be busy with more than 85,000 departing passengers and crew coming through the security checkpoints.
“TSA’s Super Bowl LVIII planning has been ongoing for more than a year. Las Vegas is a premiere destination with world class offerings that has attracted tens of thousands additional people to town for all the festivities,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Nevada Karen Burke. “TSA has remained focused on our security mission, ensuring that we are ready all of the additional travelers that will come to the airport. Our pledge to everyone is that we will provide the best security in the most efficient manner.”
Starting Sunday, TSA have will have the following checkpoints open 24 hours a day through Tuesday:
- A/B Checkpoint
- C Annex Checkpoint
- C/D Checkpoint
- Upper Checkpoint
In addition, TSA will operate the Terminal 3 Lower Checkpoint on Sunday and Monday from 5 a.m. to midnight. On Tuesday, this checkpoint will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Despite the extended hours, TSA projects that checkpoint operations are expected to be extremely busy throughout the early morning all the way into the late afternoon. To increase the efficiency of screening operations, TSA will have dedicated TSA PreCheck® lanes open in both terminals.
TSA will be supplementing its local security operations with more than 75 security screening officers from more than 30 airports around the country to ensure that all lanes are kept open to screen departing travelers. Travelers can also expect to see explosive detection canines working in and around the security checkpoints, adding an additional layer of security at the airport.
Travelers can expect to see Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams in the airport. These teams are part of a nationwide transportation security program that can work in any transportation facility. VIPRs are intended to supplement existing security resources and provide a highly visible law enforcement presence.
With the number of people expected to travel by air over the next several days, TSA is advising that all travelers plan to arrive at the airport early and prepared for every step of the travel process including security screening. Please be aware of the contents of carry-on luggage to avoid bringing prohibited items to the security checkpoint. In addition, ensure that liquids in carry-on luggage are in quantities of 3.4 ounces / 100 ml or less. Any liquids over this quantity should be placed in checked luggage.
For travelers who have purchased souvenir programs, please pack those in your carry-on luggage. Placing programs in checked luggage may cause the security screening equipment to unnecessarily alarm and potentially cause delays in checked baggage operations.
TSA recommends travelers download the myTSA app, a trusted source for travel information. It provides travelers with 24-hour access to the most frequently asked questions. It also features a searchable “Can I Bring” database where you can type in the name of an item and learn whether it can travel in a carry-on bag or if it needs to be checked. The app is available from the App Store or Google Play. Travelers can also Tweet or Message AskTSA to get answers to their questions. Live assistance is available daily including weekends and holidays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST.
Profiles of some of TSA’s explosive detection canines in Las Vegas
supporting Super Bowl LVIII
Say hello to Astor , he’s a German Shorthaired Pointer assigned to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Astor has been teamed up with his handler Jorge for three years. This is their first major event. Astor loves being rewarded with his tennis ball and also likes to play fetch in his off time. Astor is very attached to Jorge and wants to be by his side 24-7.
Meet Bingo , a German Shorthaired Pointer. He and his handler Nick are assigned to San José Mineta International Airport (SJC). They’ve worked together as a team for two years. During his career, Bingo has worked two other Super Bowls, the Kentucky Derby and MLB Spring Training. Bingo’s work reward toy is a Chuckit fetch ball, and when he’s not working, he enjoys being lazy and when he has the energy…wrestling.
Duke is a male Labrador Retriever assigned to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). He and his handler Brandy have been a team for nearly five years. This is Duke’s second Super Bowl…his first was Super Bowl 56 at SoFi stadium in Inglewood, CA. Brandy says, Duke enjoys his Kong ball work reward toy and loves to play tug of war at home with his Great Dane and Husky siblings.
Blue is a male Labrador Retriever assigned to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). It’s safe to say he’ll be rooting for a 49ers victory. Blue’s handler Ben says this is Blue’s first Super Bowl, but he has big event experience such as supporting TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) team during Fleet Week in the SF Bay Area. Duke enjoys relaxing in the sun and going on walks. Ben says if you scratch Duke’s ears long enough…he’ll start to fall asleep.
Say hello to Bruno a Labrador Retriever assigned to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) His handler LaShundre says they’ve been a team for 6.5 years! Bruno has worked Formula 1 and the Indy 500, as well as last year’s Super Bowl in Glendale, AZ. LaShundre rewards Bruno at work with a Chuckit fetch ball. He’s also a big softie because he really enjoys cuddling.
Meet CSOKI , a German Shorthaired Pointer assigned to Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW). She and her handler Giancarlo have been a team for 6.5 years. While this is CSOKI’s first major event, she’s also supported multiple airports and specialized training events. CSOKI loves her work reward tennis ball. She also loves to run, jump, fetch and play tag with Giancarlo. Las Vegas is a special place for this team because it’s where they first started working together.
Mente is a male a German Shorthaired Pointer assigned to Kansas City International Airport (MCI). It’s safe to say he’ll be rooting for a Chief’s victory. Mente’s handler Scott says this is Mente’s first Super Bowl, but that he has worked an International Soccer match before. They’ve been a team for just under a year. Mente works hard for his Kong ball reward toy and loves to eat snowballs.
Meet Ari , a German Shorthaired Pointer assigned to Indianapolis International Airport (IND). Ari and his handler Keith have been teammates for four years. Ari has worked an NCAA Final Four and of course the Indy 500. They’ll also be working the NBA All-Star game in a couple of weeks. His work reward is a Kong toy. Naturally he loves the outdoors and is known to go into a point when he sees a bird. Ari has a sibling at home who is a retired TSA K-9 that worked Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis. We’re pretty sure Ari got some pointers during dinner time talks.
Say hello to Kipper , a Springer Spaniel assigned to San Diego International Airport (SAN). She and her handler Ryan have been together for one year and have worked a Formula 1 race in Las Vegas and at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Kipper gets rewarded at work with her Chuckit Fetch ball…something she also enjoys doing in her off time. Kipper loves to high five,but is picky about who actually gets one. She tends to release pent up energy with the “zoomies” at home, where she bounces off the wall parkour style.
Heeere’s Hary ! He’s a German Shepherd assigned to Richmond International Airport (RIC) with his handler Kyle…they’ve been a team for more than three years. They’re excited, as this will be their first major event! Hary enjoys his work reward Kong toy as well as playing fetch in his off-duty time. He also enjoys long neighborhood walks and eating ice cubes.
Meet Dina , a German Shorthaired Pointer assigned to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS). Dina’s handler Nicholas says they’ve been a team for 1.5 years and that Dina will feel right at home with the Super Bowl right there in Vegas. Dina also worked last year’s Super Bowl. Her work reward toy is a tennis ball and away from work she likes her belly rubbed and having won TSA’s cutest K-9 in 2023, she’s a bit of a diva…and she knows it.
Flynn is a Labrador Retriever assigned to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Flynn barks…go 9ers! He and his handler Farris have been together one year and this is their first Super Bowl. Flynn comes shooting out of his kennel when it’s time to work and likes a simple tennis ball as his work reward. He also enjoys playing fetch and tug-of-war off duty.
Say hello to Ficko , a German Shorthaired Pointer assigned to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). Ficko has worked with his handler Randall for 6.5 years. They’ve traveled around working across the country, but this is their first Super Bowl. Ficko is high energy and loves his Chuckit fetch ball reward toy. He keeps that same energy at home and loves to run circles in the yard.
Elton is a Black Labrador Retriever assigned to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) with his handler Christine . They been a team for three years and have worked Super Bowl 56, the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, and the 2023 Formula 1 in Las Vegas. Elton’s reward of his red Kong keeps him motivated at work but at home Elton enjoys chasing anything around in the backyard, especially large soccer balls. He also loves playing in the sprinklers and pool during hot summer afternoons.
Meet Baron, a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix assigned to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS). He and his handler Michael have been a team for a little more than a year and have worked Formula 1 and the 2022 NFL Draft in Vegas. Baron works hard for his Kong toy at work and enjoys playing fetch at home. He’s got a certain look to him and is often mistaken for a coyote in his neighborhood.