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With Super Bowl a year off, planning underway for visitors, safety

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GLENDALE – With this city’s Super Bowl less than a year away, officials are organizing to make sure the many attendees not only have a safe and enjoyable time but leave planning their next trip here.

“When these visitors come for the Super Bowl, they don’t just come for the game, they come for the experience,” Sherry Henry, executive director of Arizona Office of Tourism, said Thursday at a news conference on Super Bowl planning.

Glendale has created a free app, Glendale CVB, for Apple and Android that give users one-touch access to restaurants, stores, events and maps.

“When you’re in the area and visiting Glendale and the West Valley, you can hit this on your app and find out where the closest places are to eat, shop or just have some fun,” said Ginger Eiden, Glendale’s digital media strategist.

The app is designed to attract people to Glendale, which is Terry Williams target as the sales and service manager for the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Our target is to keep people here a week before and a week after the game,” he said.

Many of the events surrounding the Super Bowl will be held in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Sgt. Jay O’Neill, public information officer for the Glendale Police Department, said police are going to build upon their experiences from the Super Bowl held here in 2008 and incorporate what they learned from this year’s game in New Jersey as well as any changes to NFL security policies.

Social media is said to play a big role as well, O’Neill said, with police using channels to connect with people and get information out about the game, traffic, events or emergencies.

“While we’re going to have an enormous amount of presence at the Super Bowl, the best eyes and ears that we’re going to have at the Super Bowl are going to be the fans and the visitors themselves,” he said.

While Glendale can’t hire officers specifically for the Super Bowl, it plans to hire an additional 10 before the Super Bowl with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, O’Neill said.

“The bottom line is the Super Bowl is going to be a safe event,” he said. “And we’re going to make sure that that happens.”