NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Security plans are in place for one of the rarest events in American political history – two candidates from the same state seeking the presidency.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it is all happening with a terror threat also in place.
With all that in mind, the NYPD has enacted a security plan on steroids. More than 5,000 officers will be assigned to election duties in the city – protecting the candidates themselves, their election headquarters, and every single polling place.
“Know that you are safe and well-protected,” de Blasio said at a news conference on Monday. “We have beefed up our ability to handle multiple sites simultaneously.”
Already on Monday, New Yorkers got a taste of what Election Day will bring. A crack team of no-nonsense counterterrorism officers – wearing helmets and holding long guns – were on duty at Trump Tower where Republican nominee Donald Trump occupies the penthouse.
Trump supporters were standing outside the building, including one man who held a life-size cardboard cutout of Trump and said, “I’m with him!” Clinton supporters were also outside the building chanting, “I’m with her.”
An army of officers was also preparing to secure the Jacob Javits Center, which will serve as Clinton’s Election Night headquarters. Barricades and no-parking signs were in place at New York Hilton Midtown, which will be Trump’s Election Night headquarters.
The Secret Service will also be watching over the candidates’ headquarters.
Officials said Tuesday will be the first election night since 1944 that both presidential candidates will be in New York City, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
There were also more anti-terror officers in Times Square.
“You’re going to see a lot of police. You’re going to see a lot of uniforms. You’re going to see a lot of marked cars,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “There’s going to be a lot of police in New York City and some of it you won’t see.”
Authorities said there will also be street closures, frozen zones and traffic delays.
“There is going to be tremendous impact on traffic in New York City tomorrow,” O’Neill said. “If you don’t need to drive, I suggest taking public transportation.”
In addition, U.S. intelligence alerted Joint Terrorism Task Forces last week that al-Qeada could be planning attacks in three states on Monday, sources told CBS News.
Officials said the intelligence points to possible attacks in New York, Texas or Virginia. The threats were vague and no specific targets were provided, but authorities took the threat seriously and ramped up security.
The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said it was also no surprise that ISIS then followed suit by encouraging followers here to attack voters, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“ISIS puts out these threats widely over their social media before many events,” Miller said. “We’ve seen them before holidays, we’ve seen them before special events.”
The NYPD says the formation of the critical response command and strategic response group has more than tripled its counterterrorism capabilities.
Miller described New York City’s anti-terror plan. He called it an “all-out posture.”
“New York City will never be intimidated,” Mayor de Blasio added. “Never by threats of terror nor by anyone who wants to do anything to disrupt our electoral process.”
New Yorkers viewed the security precautions and street closures with some measure of equilibrium.
“It’s as safe as you’re going to be – another day in New York,” one man said.
“We know how to stand up for freedom of speech,” a woman said.
“I think it’s knee-jerk for the times right now, and you have people in Homeland Security telling you there’s a plot,” another man added.
“I think they should have extra protection,” said Marilyn Berkowitz of Plainview. “I worry about after the election.”
In New York City, the following street closures will be in effect:
- West 34th Street between the West Side Highway – 11th Avenue
- 11th Avenue from 34th Street-West 40th Streeet
- West 53rd Street from 6th-7th Avenue
- West 54th Street from 6th-7th Avenue
- West 55th Street from 5th-6th Avenue
- Truck restrictions on 5th Avenue from 54th-59th Streets
- Truck restrictions on 57th Street from Madison to 6th Avenue
- Truck restrictions on 6th Avenue from 42nd-54th Streets
Tight security will be in place in other areas as well.
Tightened security measures are also in place elsewhere in the area. In Westchester County, high flower-filled concrete planters blocked the entrance to Clinton’s street in Chappaqua.
On Long Island, police in both Nassau and Suffolk counties were on heightened alert.
“There is a lot of emotion in this election, so we want to make sure we have an enhanced presence,” said Suffolk County police Commissioner Timothy Sini.
Voters can also expect stepped up security at polling places in New Jersey. The state’s office of emergency management is monitoring for any issues affecting election operations.
Having presidential candidates from the same state has only happened three times before – once in Ohio and twice in New York. Both times in New York it involved Roosevelts – Theodore and Franklin Delano – most recently in 1944.