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Dirty Bomb Detection Exercise Continues Around The City

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Radiation detection equipment is seen in New York City - Apr 7, 2011 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Radiation detection equipment is seen in New York City – Apr 7, 2011 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

diamond_feature Marla Diamond
I began my career at WCBS in the fall of 1997 as the station's New...
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) - Scores of police cars amassed at the United Nations for another day of drills in a week-long exercise.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: It’s Part Of The “Securing Our Cities” Program

It has gone very well, according to New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly.

“So far, everyone who should have been apprehended has been apprehended,” says Kelly. “There’s been a total of 63 hits, or finds of radiological material [in the exercise].”

dirty bomb drill sff Dirty Bomb Detection Exercise Continues Around The City

A participants in a counter-terrorism training, center, looks for radioactive material with a handheld device south of the Verrezano-Narrows Bridge during a drill in New York, Thursday, April 7, 2011. (credit: Seth Wenig/AP)

Some were found on boats near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Others were found in briefcases.

Also, part of the exercise is testing for radiation in the subways, in cars on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, or sailed into New York harbor on a boat.

In what has amounted to a radiation scavenger hunt, every threat has been averted.

The effort has tested the limits of domestic counterterrorism logistics, costs and tactics. It relies on the manpower and expertise of more than 100 law enforcement and public safety agencies across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, tens of millions of dollars in federal funding and a belief that plots already set in motion can be thwarted wherever necessary.

Today’s very visible dirty bomb drills were being held on the Upper West Side, in Lower Manhattan, and on the Staten Island Ferry.

Earlier in the week, hundreds of officers located phony devices and stolen materials at a Cadillac dealer in Westport, Conn., inside an SUV near Yankee Stadium and on three fake terrorists caught inside Penn Station.

The exercise is part of the $70 million “Securing Our Cities.”

In the mid-2000s, the Department of Homeland Security came up with the concept of Securing the Cities to combat dirty bombs and decided that the NYPD, which currently has about 35,000 officers, was best suited to test if for the rest of the country, officials said.

The city also was chosen based on accepted wisdom that it remains a ripe terror target. In the past two years alone, New Yorkers have seen an aborted al-Qaida-sanctioned plot to attack subways with homemade explosives and a failed attempt to set off a crude fertilizer car bomb in Times Square.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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