Jan 31, 2023 - Sports

How Phoenix and Glendale are preparing for Super Bowl safety

A man sitting in front of a wall of TV screens showing roadways.

Traffic engineer Tony Abbo at the Glendale Traffic Management Center. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

All eyes will be on the Valley next weekend as it hosts the Super Bowl for the fourth time.

  • But that attention comes with an increased likelihood of public safety threats.

State of play: Glendale Police commander Brandon Blanco tells us the Valley's law enforcement agencies have been planning for the Super Bowl since the moment last year's game in Los Angeles ended.

What they're saying: Blanco says many of the officers working the game have staffed past Super Bowls, and this will be his fifth, including out-of-state games. "We won't be surprised by any of it. We've got it down pretty good," he said.

The big picture: Hundreds of local and federal law enforcement officers will assist with events across the metro next week.

  • The Valley has an additional 117 bomb technicians and 104 explosive device canine handlers coming in from federal and out-of-state agencies to help, Phoenix Police commander Brian Lee said at a City Council meeting last week.

Yes, but: Lee assured the council that emergency responses across the city will not suffer because of the big game.

  • The department is temporarily moving detectives and specialty officers to Super Bowl duty next week and activating its reserve division so normal patrol squads are uninterrupted.

Zoom in: Traffic issues are likely to cause the biggest public safety headache on game day, Blanco tells us.

  • Glendale traffic engineer Tony Abbo will be at the Emergency Operations Center, a few miles from the stadium, along with officials from ADOT and local and federal law enforcement agencies.
  • He will alert officers to crashes, override traffic signals to ease the flow of vehicles and send traffic advice to motorists using electronic message boards around the stadium.

Of note: Glendale has developed much of the land around State Farm Stadium since the last time it hosted the big game in 2015. This means there's significantly less parking.

  • Abbo encourages fans to use rideshare.
  • If you must drive, purchase parking in advance and know which route will get you to your lot. There won't be parking available for purchase on game day.

What we're watching: There'll be a lot of city employees working overtime next week. We'll be requesting those costs to put into perspective how much Valley taxpayers spent on the Super Bowl.


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