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​Pay no attention to the state agency behind the curtain

Feb. 8, 2018

Photo of Minnesota National Guard staff in the SEOC 
Photo: Members of the military (along with representatives from other state and federal agencies) staffed the State Emergency Operations Center during Super Bowl weekend, ready to respond to a public safety threat.


If you were anywhere near the Twin Cities over Super Bowl weekend, you saw extra safety and security measures everywhere: armed guards at the airport, a noticeable law enforcement presence downtown, blocked-off streets and altered public transportation schedules and routes.

That visual evidence was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what local and federal agencies were doing to keep football fans and non-fans alike safe last weekend. But what you didn’t see was Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division waiting quietly in the background, ready to lend support and resources should the need arise.

HSEM partially activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), which serves as the hub for state agencies and their public and private partners to work together in support of local responders during a crisis. The SEOC can be activated for emergencies such as an unlikely incident at a nuclear generating plant or a natural disaster. It can also be activated to support major pre-planned events.  Over Super Bowl weekend, the SEOC was staffed with state agency personnel from HSEM, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Minnesota Departments of Health, Transportation and Military Affairs. Additionally, FEMA staff from Chicago, including representatives from Department of Defense, were here in support of HSEM.  

The city of Minneapolis and their local, state and federal partners led the effort to ensure safety and security for the events. HSEM stood ready to coordinate a response should something unexpected arise and additional resources were needed. By establishing a high level of situational awareness and having state resources and federal partners at their side in the SEOC, HSEM could quickly jump into action if the City of Minneapolis requested help. It could be anything from mobilizing burn units to treat large numbers of frostbite cases, to calling in additional law enforcement officers if a protest became violent, to deploying hazardous material response teams and activating the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in the event of a chemical release near Super Bowl venues.

HSEM spent months planning with their partners so they had a very good idea which resources might be needed and was ready deploy them almost immediately.  

Think of it like making dinner: Deciding what you want to make, shopping for the ingredients, and doing the prep work all add to the time it takes to get a meal on the table. But if you have everything done ahead of time, all you have to do is cook. By planning meticulously, communicating regularly with the city of Minneapolis and other partners, and having the SEOC partially activated, HSEM was ready to get cooking at a moment’s notice. The good news is that at the end of Super Bowl weekend, they never even had to fire up the stove.