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Rural Minn. officers score trip to the Super Bowl to assist with security

Deerwood Police Chief Mark Taylor (left) and Aitkin police officer Colter Riedel talk Monday about the roles they will provide as law enforcement for the Super Bowl activities in Minneapolis. Taylor and Riedel are among several Brainerd lakes area officers who will assist with police coverage for Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Jennifer Stockinger / Forum News Service

BRAINERD, Minn.—Ever since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis would host the 2018 Super Bowl, excitement has been building across Minnesota.

Minneapolis cannot host the massive national event alone, with hundreds of thousands of people estimated to visit the city for the game.

Minneapolis will need some help.

The Minneapolis Police Department, the agency overseeing Super Bowl operations, reached out to law enforcement agencies across the state to help with the week-long Super Bowl festivities. Law enforcement in the Brainerd lakes area stepped up and are assisting Minneapolis police.

Authorities from the Minnesota State Patrol, Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and the Aitkin and Deerwood police departments will have a presence at Super Bowl LII scheduled Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the New England Patriots. They will also have a presence for up to 10 days to help provide police services for the events leading up to the big game. Events include the Super Bowl Experience Driven by Genesis at the Minneapolis Convention Center and Super Bowl Live presented by Verizon, which will feature live concerts.

Ten officers from the Brainerd Lakes area, as well as the Crow Wing County Bomb Squad, which consists of officers with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and the Brainerd Police Department, will travel to Minneapolis. The bomb squad is one of four in Minnesota.

Deerwood Police Chief Mark Taylor and officer Colter Riedel of Aitkin Police Department offered more details on their roles during an interview on Monday, Jan. 22. They'll head south this weekend and stay in the dorm rooms at North Central University in downtown Minneapolis.

Taylor said there are seven zones in downtown Minneapolis, each of which larger than the town he typically patrols, and officers will be assigned a zone each day. Some of the Aitkin officers will be at U.S. Bank Stadium on game day.

One of the bigger events that will attract many people in the days leading up to the big game will be Super Bowl Live, which runs this Friday through Feb. 4 on Nicollet Mall. Six city blocks will be blocked off to host free live concerts.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience," Riedel said. "When it was offered to us we were all pretty excited about it."

Taylor agreed.

"This will be an experience," Taylor said. "There will be thousands and thousands of law enforcement officers from all sorts of agencies. When you take part in such a large-scale event like this, it is once in a lifetime opportunity. I don't think we will get another Super Bowl here for a while."

Philadelphia fans were not the best to Vikings fans Sunday during the NFC Championship game, Taylor said, and these same fans will most likely be in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.

"The Eagles fans were not Minnesota nice," Taylor said, and police will have to monitor crowds to make sure fans don't get out of hand.

The Minnesota State Patrol could not comment on their roles for the Super Bowl, but provided the following prepared statement:

"The state patrol has increased staffing around the state in anticipation of Super Bowl activities that will increase traffic on our roads. In the metropolitan area, the state patrol will assist with commercial motor vehicle inspection and the potential for any civil disturbance issues that might arise. The primary focus during the Super Bowl remains our traffic safety mission. We look forward to working with the other law enforcement partners to provide public safety service through the event and across the state."

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