NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city will be on high security alert this Fourth of July holiday, spending money and resources to make sure its biggest celebration is a safe one.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer on Wednesday there are no specific threats, but his department will be taking no chances as thousands of people converge on the city to watch the Macy’s Fireworks Show.
The NYPD will be deploying every high-tech device in its arsenal and the commissioner had a message for any would-be bad guys.
“Our message is we have a lot of resources in place that we think are necessary to protect the event and we certainly think New York City is not the place to come,” Kelly said. “We certainly are a city that has been successfully, in terms of terrorists, attacked twice, and 16 plots against us. We must be vigilant. We must be aware. We must devote the resources to it and that’s precisely what we’re doing.”
It was some tough talk from Kelly as the NYPD arms itself to protect the city this Independence Day holiday.
“We have no specific threat as I said, but any time you get a large number of people together, we always have concerns. That’s what we’re paid for, to be concerned about that. I believe we will do everything that we reasonably can do to protect the crowd and make it a happy and safe event,” Kelly said.
The Department will be deploying an amazing array of security initiatives, including police helicopters with special sensors to detect radiation on the ground. The choppers also have infrared capability and the ability to read a name tag from a mile away. For example, if officers saw a maintenance worker on Liberty Island, they’d be able to read the name and radio it to see if that person is supposed to be there.
“We have greater capability in that regard than we’ve ever had,” Kelly said.
There will be cops with radiation detection pagers; police cars that can detect radiation; a counter terrorism 360-degree camera car to look for suspicious packages; and radiation detecting boats that will patrol around the city since many people are expected to watch the fireworks from the water; and of course, the bomb dogs will be out in force.
“It’s a significant investment of resources on our part, but obviously, in the post-9/11 world, we think it’s necessary,” Kelly said.
The NYPD is reminding spectators that no large backpacks, lawn chairs, coolers or alcoholic beverages will be allowed in the viewing area.
Traffic along the banks of the Hudson will be challenging. Among the major closings will be the West Side Highway, which will be shut down between 59th and 22nd streets. Traffic on the New Jersey side will be stopped in communities with a view of the river, including Hoboken and much of Sinatra Drive, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Kelly said his entire counter terrorism package will be out on Thursday, but this year there’s a little something extra for all those overzealous souls who take America’s birthday a little too seriously.
“We also have additional patrols in the boroughs because we’ve had in the past, but not recently, sort of celebratory gunfire, which obviously we don’t want,” Kelly said.
Commissioner Kelly told New Yorkers to celebrate the holiday with parties, watching the fireworks or with family get-togethers. Just don’t shoot off a gun to commemorate the day.
“It’s the type of thing we’ll be looking for. We’re vigilant in that regard,” Kelly said.
JULY 4 SECURITY CHECKLIST
Barges in the river at the following locations:
Their will be four barges in the river at 24th Street, 36th Street, 49th Street and 42nd Street.
Public viewing areas include:
Northbound lanes on 12th Avenue between 22nd Street and 57th Street
North and southbound lanes of the Henry Hudson Parkway from 57th Street to 72nd Street
Selected cross streets with a view of the river 23rd, 24th, 34th and 42nd Streets.
The esplanade at Clinton Cove Park between 54th Street and 57th Street.
Pier 84 at 44th Street…their will be four specific areas for spectators.
The NYPD in the air:
The NYPD will be deploying their entire sea and air fleet as well as a heavy counter terror response: Seven helicopters will be in the air
NYPD on the Water:
16 NYPD Harbor Unit boats will be in the water:
Boats in the harbor will deal with potential “wakes” waves left by larger boats that can capsize smaller vessels. Boats larger than 20 meters will be anchored and boats smaller than 20 meters will be separated from the larger vessels.
The NYPD counter-terror contingent:
Prior to the event, the NYPD will conduct sweeps of underground garages as well as the streets surrounding the viewing route. All trash cans will be removed from the area.
Before and during the show cops will also use “Vapor Wake Dogs” which can detect explosives and explosive residue on a person to along the viewing areas.
In addition to small pager sized radiation detectors, cops will have hand held detectors, as well as detectors mounted on vehicles, helicopters and on the boats.
Backpacks are banned from the viewing area and bags/handbags are subject to random inspection.
Both unformed and plain clothes cops will be posted in the crowd, roaming and on rooftops with a view of the crowd.
Their will be stepped up DWI enforcement at bridges and checkpoints
Cameras as part of the counter terror initiative:
For the first fourth of July event, the third time ever used by the NYPD, they will deploy 38 new mobile cameras, fixed on light poles at strategic locations (see graphic) to monitor the crowd. These images can be fed back to the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative (Ring of Steel) command center as well as the Joint Operations Center at Police headquarters. The will be small, they will be unmarked and they will have a frosted globe at the bottom. They will be installed sometime tomorrow.
The Joint Operations Center will be staffed and monitored. On hand will be cops from the State Police as well as New Jersey State Police and cops from municipalities across the river.
*Note on the mobile cams — these were purchased by the NYPD in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombing. This is only the third time these cams are being deployed. They were first used during the Five Borough Bike Tour then the Israeli day parade.
Cops will also deploy a truck that can take a 360-degree view of the route and it will be deployed before and after the crowd arrives, to scan for unattended packages and suspicious behavior. These images can be monitored by a cam operator inside the truck as it moves.
*Note — This truck will also be deployed in Coney Island to monitor large crowds like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Cops will also deploy their SkyWatch mobile towers to monitor the crowds.
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