Security Plans for Atlanta’s Super Bowl LIII

As Super Bowl LIII approaches, police and partner agencies are meeting for a tabletop exercise to develop a security plan to host the event on February 4. These law enforcement partners include the FBI, Homeland Security, and the World Congress Center police. The agencies met to discuss possible crisis scenarios for the Super Bowl and for the 10 days of events preceding it.

Those involved in the preparations for the Super Bowl will “work on contingency plans for everything from suspicious packages to protests and even mass casualty incidents.” (Amy Patterson, VP of operations and logistics for Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee). “Today’s an opportunity for us to exercise those plans through about eight scenarios that we’ll talk about, things that could happen during [the]10-day operational period of the Super Bowl,” Patterson said.

Events on the scale of a modern Super Bowl demand a serious security effort that spans multiple dimensions. A human security presence, vast camera network, analytics, authentication through biometrics or RFID, and facial recognition through FBI databases will all play a part. There are similarities between this and the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo, which is not surprising considering the FBI’s involvement in both.


Planning for mass casualty events is usually considered to be within the exclusive scope of law enforcement, but it is increasingly through surveillance and analytics that we are able to discern an imminent crisis from the behaviors of crowds. As we have looked at in previous articles, analytics systems using a wide network of IP cameras can look at everything from the movements of crowds, the walking gait of individual persons of interest, and more to determine if the outbreak of violence is imminent. So while it is still up to law enforcement to gather intelligence leading up to an event, it is increasingly technology that alerts us to events about to unfold. 



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