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Las Vegas police prepared for Super Bowl, sheriff says

Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill maintains that Las Vegas continues to be a possible target for bad actors who may want to inflict terror on the masses.

And that’s the mindset of his Metropolitan Police Department as its officers aim to protect a plethora of football fans expected for the upcoming Super Bowl festivities, the sheriff said in a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We are prepared for the Super Bowl like we were prepared for any other major event,” he said.

McMahill highlighted the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations on the tourist corridor and last November’s inaugural Formula 1 race on the Strip as examples.

He noted that security preparations for the race and the events surrounding it were uniquely challenging to law enforcement because they had a bigger footprint and shut down Las Vegas Boulevard multiple nights.

The NFL championship at Allegiant Stadium in Feb. 11 will have its own demands.

“You can treat it like a football game,” McMahill said, “but it’s also all the ancillary locations that are hosting parties and Super Bowl experiences.”

The Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting at a country music festival on the Strip — the deadliest in modern U.S. history — is still fresh in the minds of Metro’s leadership, McMahill said.

And it’s something he said he brings up to event organizers who might question stringent security measures.

“You didn’t have to live through 1 October, where 58 people were killed that day and 422 more were shot,” the sheriff said about Metro’s messaging.

The Department of Homeland Security designated the Super Bowl as a SEAR 1 event, the highest level for security of major events.

The NFL has green-lighted dozens of events surrounding the game, and various Strip resorts also are planning happenings to include pool parties, according to police officials, who said the department would prioritize events sanctioned by the professional football league and work to also staff the resorts.

Metro Lt. Kendall Bell, co-chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee’s public safety and security subcommittee, previously told reporters that three dozen public safety groups would be involved in securing the game and its surroundings.

Their goal for success, Bell said: communication and collaboration.

To familiarize themselves with the event, host committee members attended the past two Super Bowls in California and Arizona.

McMahill said that on any weekend, about 1,200 of his officers clock overtime working large events mostly held in the tourist corridor.

“My cops are tired. They’re working hard,” he said.

“My challenge is to keep them motivated and keep them focused, because letting down just a little bit is not going to be an acceptable answer for us keeping this community safe.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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