Law enforcement officials _ not tailgaters _ were getting stoked Thursday outside Land Shark Stadium, rolling out an impressive display of equipment to protect Miami's postseason football trifecta: the Orange Bowl, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl No. 44.
The message was not subtle: anyone, terrorist or otherwise, plotting an attack on any of these high-profile events had best think again.
"It's not enough for us to tell you we're going to do this. We have to show you," said James Loftus, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
A swath of the stadium parking lot was filled with armored SWAT vehicles, bomb-handling robots, mobile command posts, explosive-sniffing dogs, even a large X-ray device used by the U.S. Homeland Security Department to screen ocean-going shipping containers. The federal coordinator this year is Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steve Branham, who commands the district based in Miami.
"We're at the ready. We have good, strong relationships in place that we're drawing upon," he said.
The Super Bowl, to be played this year on Feb. 7, is annually designated a special security event requiring ramped-up protection. This year, officials added the Jan. 5 Orange Bowl and Jan. 31 Pro Bowl because they're being played at the same venue, as well as the concerts, parades, parties and other happenings that go along with games.
"High-profile events are something that terrorist groups would love to interrupt somehow," said Anthony Mangione, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Miami office. "We can't just think of the stadium. There are events all over the place."
Miami has hosted nine previous Super Bowls, most recently in 2007.
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