by Al Baker, New York Times
Detailing plans to safeguard the city against terror during the Fourth
July, officials say they will deploy about 4,000 police officers, including
about 1,600 in civilian clothes, to join soldiers and fighter jets
patrolling the streets, rivers and skies.
Pedestrians may be frisked for weapons, and cars and bags will be subject
to search. Police officers, some with counterterrorism expertise, will mix
with the crowds in the city, a police official said. More than 2,000
National Guard troops will be on duty at locations around the state,
including the city's bridges, tunnels and train stations, Gov. George E.
Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities said there was no
specific or credible threat of a terrorist attack on Independence Day, but
federal authorities have secretly alerted local agencies to the possibility
of an attack. Landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations and
the Empire State Building, among others, will receive extra attention from
the authorities, officials said.
"We have special, directed patrols of our harbor units, our aviation
units," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday at Brooklyn
Technical High School as 1,978 police recruits were sworn in. "We do have
group of heavily armed officers that we move throughout the city based on
direction from our intelligence division."
A protective no-fly zone is in place around the Statue of Liberty,
extending one nautical mile around the statue (6,076 feet) and 1,500 feet
from the ground, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation
Administration. Thousands of revelers trying to see the fireworks will have
to pass through one of 14 police checkpoints between East Houston Street
East 53rd Street in Manhattan.
Large crowds are expected along the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive to watch
the annual fireworks display, which is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg is expected to attend that show as well as a parade
Staten Island that begins earlier in the day, said Edward Skyler, the
mayor's press secretary.
City health officials, the Fire Department and the Office of Emergency
Management will work with the Police Department to prepare for any
emergencies. Police officers from the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey will work 12-hour shifts, and officers from the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority will increase patrols at subway and train terminals
and use a variety of tactics, including dogs that sniff for explosives,
John W. Scanlon, the director of the New York State Office of Public
In the skies, combat air patrols, combined with radar coverage, will
provide a defense against threats, said Lt. Col. Michael T. Halbig, a
Defense Department spokesman.
On the ground, some police officers will be equipped with portable
radiation detectors and others will be armed with powerful guns, one police
official said. Officers posted at bridges and tunnels to check for drunken
drivers will also do security work, and rapid-response teams of officers
will be moving throughout the city, prepared to respond to any problem that
may arise, the official said. Traffic cameras already in place will be used
to monitor the crowds.
Fire Department units are also being equipped with radiation-detection
The National Guard's Second Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass
Destruction) will be on duty, as they are every day of the year, officials