SAN JOSE (KRON) — Public safety is the top priority for law enforcement, as the world beats a path to the Bay Area for Super Bowl week.
KRON’s Rob Fladeboe takes you for a rare look behind the scenes with the San Jose Police Department’s Emergency Response, or Merge Unit. Among the many possible threats, San Jose’s elite SWAT Team has been training for the department’s firing range. And deep beneath headquarters is a scenario involving an active shooter.
Police are aware that people have been on edge since the recent terrorist attacks such as the ones in San Bernardino and Paris, Dwyer said.
To address those concerns, police have struck a “delicate balance” between being overbearing and the appearance of a police presence, according to Dwyer.
The fully turned out Merge team is practicing with live ammunition. Ear protection on board, Rob followed closely behind as one officer took his turn at the target.
It is not just about hitting the target. The officer must be cognizant of his surroundings too and any innocent bystanders who might be in the line of fire.
Mergecommander Jason Dwyer said his team will be ready to roll in their armored vehicle 24-7 between now and game day on Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium.
While there have been no specific threats of an active shooter during upcoming Super Bowl-related activities, it is one of many situations that police have been training for, Dwyer said.
Officers will be in the crowds looking for anything that may pose as a threat instead of staying in a staging area, a method used in years past, Dwyer said.
Police are also anticipating an increase in suspicious package reports and have K-9 units ready to detect any explosives, police Sgt. Dave Anaya said.
The department has four dogs trained specifically to look for explosives. A bulk of their work starts on Sunday when the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, who are facing off in the Super Bowl, arrive at Mineta San Jose International Airport, Anaya said.
The units will also be conducting explosive sweeps anywhere the teams go and throughout the city as needed, according to Anaya.
The unit is stationed at the airport where they search bags, airplanes, baggage claim areas, cargo, and luggage, according to Anaya.
K-9 units from other jurisdictions have also been called to help check for explosives and some are dually trained in apprehending suspects, Anaya said.
Three of the dogs were able to detect dynamite in one of six luggage bags laid out at a police parking lot during a demonstration. Each dog checked all the zippered areas and exterior of the bags.
Each dog checked all the zippered areas and exterior of the bags. Once they were able to detect the explosive, their handler rewarded them with a toy.
Police will also use a command center at headquarters that will be staffed nearly 24 hours a day starting this weekend through Super Bowl Sunday, police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.
Personnel will be managing communications between different police units and local, state and federal agencies, according to Garcia.
They will also be able to monitor city streets through cameras set up by the city’s Department of Transportation, Garcia said.
The center has been used in the past for major events such as kidnappings, robberies and visits by high-ranking officials from other countries, Garcia said.
Certain groups within the department will also be required to work mandatory overtime during the big game, Garcia said.
As the country’s 10th largest city, the department is prepared to “effectively and efficiently” address any major incident, Garcia said.Bay City News contributed to this report