Dallas police brace for Super Bowl duties

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on January 12, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 12 at 10:34 PM

DALLAS — Security surrounding Super Bowl events is going to cost the City of Dallas millions of dollars. It is a reality that is not sitting well with Dallas police.

The concern stems from the the sheer number of people expected to show up for the big game.

The NBA All-Star Weekend brought 90,000 people downtown. City officials expect more than 250,000 people to gather downtown for Super Bowl XLV. That means more security will be needed during the NFL Experience.

Like any big event, there is concern the city may become a target for terror and crime.

“I will tell you that there is a little bit of paranoia that is always good," said Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. "We need to continue to think of what may be that additional problem, and what else could happen."

City officials are pulling hundreds of officers off their regular assignments and reassigning them to security details.

The city was given $3 million by the NFL to pay for public safety.

"We are clearly putting a lot of additional resources into it," said Mayor Leppert. "A lot more officers on the street."

Some officers — including the police associations — are grumbling because of added work.

In order to meet the security needs, officers will have to work on their days off and extra shifts. Most of that won't be overtime, because commanders are putting them on flexible schedules.

Only a half a million dollars has been set aside for police overtime. City officials and police commanders said there is no way to "man" this kind of event without having to change officers' schedules.

“We believe we have identified that clearly our first priority is not the budget issue; our first priority is making sure it’s safe," Leppert said.

There are already 130 parties planned in Dallas alone. Officers will also be responsible for dealing with traffic issues and crowd control.

The Dallas Police Department will set up extra command posts. Downtown security cameras will be monitored in three different locations, and the department has riot response teams on standby.

DPD says it is ready.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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