Law enforcement using Super Bowl experience to guide Final Four security response

It's a smaller-scale event, but coordination and communication are priorities

Sloane Martin
February 19, 2019 - 2:15 pm

Sloane Martin

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With a month and a half before the NCAA men's Final Four, law enforcement officers are fine tuning the security response.

"Training, training, training," Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said. "We can never have too much training."

Even with the Super Bowl fresh in their minds, the roughly 30 agencies from the federal, state, county and local levels involved in the security response, gathered Tuesday for what's called a tabletop exercise at the Convention Center, allowing them to go through possible situations that may arise during a large-scale event and rehearse their response.

"In the event we should have an occurrence, we want to make sure that we're well-prepared for that, and that we're all speaking the same language and we're all on the same page," Arradondo said. 

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Arradondo says there will still be a visible police presence at the Final Four, even with about half as many agencies involved. There will not be members of the National Guard because the Final Four is not the same national security level-event as the Super Bowl.

"The organization and structure will have some very similar patterns to it," he said. "But the size, scope and scale will be much smaller."

Smaller, but still spread out. The NCAA is running events at the Armory and the Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis, and there are also outdoor activities like a parade for kids. There will be restrictions around events, but not like the multi-block barrier used during Super Bowl 52.

Like the Super Bowl, police will have a 24-hour command center and utilize cameras. 

"Cyber security is another thing we have to make sure we being prepared for and also public transportation," he said. "There's a lot of different types of things that could occur and we want to make sure we're well-prepared on that." 

Arradondo says communication they developed during the Super Bowl will aid them the most.

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