Why Minneapolis is asking for MN National Guard help during the Super Bowl

The city has 888 police officers – but that won't be enough to cover everything.

The Essentials

1. The City of Minneapolis is asking for help with Super Bowl LII security from the Minnesota National Guard, and on Tuesday the mayor's office (both Betsy Hodges and mayor-elect Jacob Frey) sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton with an official request.

2. The city is expecting 1 million visitors during the 10 days leading up to the Feb. 4 game. Not only will extra security be needed for Super Bowl-related events, but regular policing will have to go on as well. The city says its 888 Minneapolis police officers aren't enough to "meet of all the safety and security needs" during that time.

3. National Guard members would help with an assortment of things, including pedestrian safety and traffic control, as well as security for important venues, infrastructure and transportation options.

The Big Picture

Another million people roaming around Minneapolis (and presumably venturing further into the Twin Cities at times) is no small jump. It's like taking every resident of Austin, Texas, and plopping them down in the Twin Cities region, which has a current population of 3.04 million.

Since the Super Bowl is so high-profile and well-populated, it gets a specific security designation from the Department of Homeland Security called Special Events Assessment Rating – shortened to SEAR.

There are five levels, with 5 being the least serious and 1 being the most.


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The Super Bowl is SEAR 1, meaning it's considered "of national importance, which requires extensive federal coordination and support," ABC News explains. SEAR 1 is typical for Super Bowls, Fox News says,

Use of the National Guard is also pretty normal, with the City of Minneapolis saying it's happened at almost every Super Bowl since 2002. Houston in 2017 opted not to use the National Guard, but the previous four sites – Santa Clara, Glendale, East Rutherford and New Orleans – all had a Guard presence. 

The Minneapolis Police Department will lead the coordination of all police services for Super Bowl LII, including in Bloomington, St. Paul and Eden Prairie. The city is also expecting help from other local, county and state law enforcement.

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