NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One of the lessons that the NYPD has learned from terror attacks abroad in places such as Mumbai and Paris is that a swift, massive response is essential. So last fall the NYPD created the Critical Response Command, a 500-plus member unit dedicated to counterterrorism.
Its officers are at the ready this Fourth of July, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported. But revelers are part of the equation, too, says police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“Security is a shared responsibility,” he said. “If you see something that you think is suspicious or are aware of something that raises concern, pick up a phone and call. Let us come and check it out.”
CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported 3 million spectators are expected to take in the Macy’s fireworks extravaganza along the East River Monday night as extra security and barricades have been set up. Officers will be checking spectator’s bags and backpacks with safety the top priority.
“Leave the worry to us,” NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said. “It’s going to be a great event. You should see a lot of people out there tonight.”
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he’s deploying the extra officers in response to the recent terror attacks in Baghdad, Bangladesh and Istanbul. This will be the first July 4th for the Critical Response Command.
Keeping watch this Independence Day are cameras, helicopters, boats, plainclothes officers in crowds, officers with radiation detectors and vapor wake dogs that can detect explosives strapped to a person moving through a crowd.
“Having multiple vapor wake dogs operating through the crowd in any large public event, on the building line, on the sidewalk, where people are walking with packages, backpacks, duffel bags or putting things down gives us a real advantage,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said.
People have been staking out their spots along the East River and said they feel safe knowing the NYPD is out in full force.
“If we stop going to places and living our lives, then they’ve won, so we just keep going,” Diana Katz, of Washington, D.C., said.
Kirk Williams, of San Francisco, said, “Keep watch, our family and friends, look out for one another, and keep an eye open and we should be fine. The important thing is to enjoy ourselves.
People will be able to see the fireworks from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. The show starts at 9:25 p.m.