ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - More than a million people are expected to visit downtown Atlanta during the Super Bowl and the Atlanta Police Department said Tuesday that it is ready to protect them.
"Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe and position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with," said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields at a briefing.
"We have been preparing for this for a solid two years," said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, stating they have been working collaboratively with over 40 state and local law enforcement agencies.
APD has worked with state and federal partners for the last two years to create a comprehensive safety plan ahead of the big game.
"My team is ready. Every day that's what they say, 'Can we just have the game?' So, that's a good sign," Chief Shields explained.
The department will open its joint operations center on January 26 and will move officers to 12-hour shifts to cover all the city's security needs.
Officials said they are doing everything they can to minimize the impact of the federal government shutdown as the Super Bowl approaches.
"All of us take an oath to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. Nothing's changed as far as we're concerned in our role to support the Super Bowl," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker. "So, we're still full force ahead and we're going to continue to uphold that."
Chief Shields urged anyone who plans to take part in the festivities to use MARTA. Though if you feel you have to drive, she said do not leave any items in your car, especially guns.
Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII on February 3, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.