Bowled over by a super show of force

Federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents showed off Sunshine, a young Labrador who will log countless steps near Raymond James Stadium looking for any of the 19,000 explosive compounds he is trained to sniff.

“If it’s there, the dog will find it,” said Agent Kent Slay. “If there is available odor, the dog will find it.”

Slay guessed he and Sunshine will log 15 to 20 miles sweeping the sprawling Super Bowl venue. “We’ll be sweeping pretty much all the events here,” he said.

FBI agents showed off a mobile command post, which would become a nerve center in the event of an emergency. The rolling office, complete with antenna tower and Internet access, also contains communications equipment that allows the 22 agencies to radio one another.

“That’s very important,” said Supervisory Agent Carl Herron. “If we roll up on a scene we can talk to the local police department, or the state police at the same time, communicate back and forth to them.”

Organizers showed a handful of heavily armed agents as examples of the game’s human shield, but declined to say exactly how many law enforcement officers will be on patrol.

A handful of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents brandished heavy weaponry that dangled from their SWAT uniforms. “It’s real,” said one officer.

Tampa Police featured a Vietnam-era personnel carrier that looks like a tank. It will be deployed near the stadium just in case there is an attempt to disrupt Super Bowl festivities.

“There’s nothing on the street that would penetrate it or cause damage to it,” said Detective Curtis Smith. “So we’re pretty confident it will withstand any confrontation we may encounter.”

On a lighter note, Smith said the tank-looking vehicle was thrilling to drive, especially considering the looks he receives from civilian drivers while traveling on local roads.

“It’s a unique vehicle,” Smith said with a grin.

Law enforcement will host another display of force Friday, demonstrating how bomb dogs will sweep the Super Bowl for explosives.

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