LAS VEGAS — While police were pursuing and apprehending a man who climbed a Las Vegas Strip landmark, local, federal and NFL officials met with the media Wednesday to outline hardened security measures and declare the Super Bowl a “no-drone zone.”
League, FBI and Secret Service officials and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said there have not been any “specific or credible” threats to Sunday’s championship game at Allegiant Stadium. But they said they were looking for them.
The Homeland secretary shared the reason for a seven-minute timeout that paused the AFC championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 28. He said an unmanned drone aircraft had been detected over Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Authorities later reported they followed the aircraft and arrested a Pennsylvania man on felony charges.
“Please leave your drones, umbrellas, selfie sticks and weapons of any kind at home,” NFL Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier told the media Wednesday. “Super Bowl is a no-drone zone.”
Karon Ransom, U.S. Secret Service agent in charge in Las Vegas, put the number of federal law enforcement agents in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl and related events at 750. She termed the effort a “whole of government approach.”
Spencer Evans, special agent in charge of the FBI Las Vegas office, said his agency was “monitoring and sharing” with other agencies “and appropriate private-sector partners” what he called “every scrap of information that indicates a potential threat” from “criminal actors or a hostile nation-state.”
“This includes threat intelligence gleaned from social media or open-source materials, our own databases and our U.S. intelligence community,” Evans said.
Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill issued a familiar call for people who see something to say something and noted that Las Vegas has hosted a series of recent headline-grabbing events: the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix in November; a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, shooting in December; and New Year’s Eve fireworks that drew hundreds of thousands of revelers to the Strip.
McMahill, head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, also somberly referred to lessons learned from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, when a gunman opened fire in October 2017 from windows of a high-rise casino hotel and killed 58 people at an outdoor concert crowd of 20,000 on the Strip. Several other deaths have since been attributed to wounds received that night.
At least 65,000 people are expected at Allegiant Stadium for the Super Bowl, and Las Vegas tourism officials estimate the number of hotel guests and visitors in the area will top 330,000.
“Anything suspicious, report it,” McMahill said. “Let us do the legwork to determine if the threat is real.”
The sheriff added that while he was at Wednesday’s media event, he was notified that officers were pursuing a man who had climbed to the top of the Las Vegas Sphere.
“We know that people are going to test us,” McMahill said from the podium. “We know people are going to try things. We know these things are going to happen. We’re going to deal with them as they come up and make sure we have the safest Super Bowl we’ve ever had.”