Sheriff Penzone says public’s vigilance is safety tool in security prep for Super Bowl
PHOENIX – With high-profile sporting events on the horizon for metro Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said he’s looking to the public to act as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement.
“It’s that simple saying – ‘See something, say something’ – that’s the most powerful tool to support law enforcement’s efforts to identify a problem before someone is harmed,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.
“For me, it’s how do we make sure that everybody becomes a part of this safety community,” he said.
Multiple local, state and federal agencies will be supplying security support to the upcoming College Football Playoff semifinal and Super Bowl at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium and the PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale.
The Vrbo Fiesta Bowl is up first Dec. 31, followed by the golf Feb. 6-12 and finally, the Super Bowl Feb. 12.
The Valley has plenty of experience hosting major sporting events, with three Super Bowls, two college football title games and the NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship on its hosting resume.
“It’s a constant multijurisdictional effort to make sure that we’re all on the same page working together because no one agency can accommodate the needs for these types of major events,” Penzone said.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety oversees the state’s Counter Terrorism Information Center, which includes the state’s Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
The center works 24/7 providing intelligence, investigative and technical support to state, local, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies as well as other agencies, according to the website.
“It’s always the unknown variable. Oftentimes, we will identify a specific threat and then we’re able to be proactive trying to keep track of it or negate it in some way,” Penzone said.
Penzone hopes reemphasizing community involvement will ignite awareness.
“It’s the lone wolf thing like you saw in Boston at the marathon, where it’s something that’s not giving you any indicators that give you a chance to be out in front of it,” he said.