Tampa police asked the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday to restrict air traffic around Tampa Stadium during Super Bowl XXV because of fears of terrorism stemming from the war in the Persian Gulf.
Robert L. Smith, who heads the police department, said he and his aides also are considering the use of metal detectors and X-ray machines on fans entering Tampa Stadium Jan. 27 to ferret out any explosive devices.He said his department has round-the-clock access to bomb technicians, a swat team, hostage negotiation experts and what he referred to as "other key players."
The Super Bowl is the single biggest sporting event held in the United States and is televised around the world, including the Middle East. That makes it a potential target by pro-Iraqi terrorists.
Smith said his department had been making anti-terrorist plans since early last year.
"We have planned 90 percent of all of this regardless of what happens in the Middle East," Smith said. "We started our plans in January 1990. I know we're prepared.
"The threat of terrorism is always a consideration. Fortunately, we haven't had it here in this community, but we are aware of all the terrorist activities that have taken place all over this country in the last 15 to 20 years," he said.
Smith said the FAA has taken his request for restricted air traffic under advisement.
"We hope for security reasons they will restrict the aircraft to about five miles from the stadium and maybe for a height of about 10,000 feet," he said. "We are considering the possibility of using X-ray devices and metal detectors for people entering the stadium."