TAMPA, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Securing the Super Bowl is a complex task for federal, state, and local law enforcement in Tampa.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations unit is at the core of the effort, both in the air and on the ground.
“At CBP, we are good at what we do. We enjoy the job and are protecting the homeland 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are going to take that expertise and we are bringing that to Tampa Bay for Super Bowl 55,” Todd Gayle with Air and Marine Operations said.
The main mission of the Black Hawk helicopters over Tampa is to patrol restricted airspace. Airplanes without permission are not allowed in the airspace.
“We have the air marine operations based in California and they will monitor that airspace using radar. If they see something and detect it, they will track it and coordinate a response. We will go intercept that aircraft and determine whether they are a friend or foe,” Gayle said.
Federal agents are also on the waterways in Tampa.
“We are keeping an eye on anything that is not normal. Anything that was not there. We have taken multiple trips up and down. Things that stand out and should not be there,” Cleon Arrington with CBP said.
In many ways, the agents on the boats have an advantage because there is a lot they can see from the water that can’t be seen on land.
“You have so much water going through downtown. You have to be ready for people doing things on land and trying to use the water to get away,” Arrington said.
The federal agents will also be able to assist in medical emergencies and able to take patients to the hospital on their boats which could be faster than using roadways because of traffic.