Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5 at 11 a.m. and continuing through Saturday, April 9, the New York City Police Department and its 12 principal law enforcement and public safety partners in the Securing the Cities Initiative (STC), will conduct a full-scale exercise involving hundreds of personnel from 150 law enforcement and other first responder agencies in the tri-state region. The exercise is designed to evaluate their combined ability to detect and interdict radiological materials that could be used in a terrorist attack in the region.
The exercise will involve activity in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey on land, including rail and highways, and in the waterways of the region. The exercise is not the result of a specific threat.
“Because there are still people in this world intent on doing us harm, we are vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and also to keep training in case the unthinkable should happen,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “We are fortunate that the NYPD and its partners in the Securing the Cities initiative have created this dense web of protection for this region.”
“While we are focused mainly on preventing terrorist attack before one can be mounted, we also must be prepared to interdict a nuclear or radioactive device should one come our way,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, adding that, “During the exercise, the public can expect to observe increased law enforcement activity throughout the tri-state region in the form of traffic checkpoints and grid searches. Increased activity may be observed on roadways and transit hubs leading into New York City toward the end of the week, in particular, and may result in traffic delays in off-peak hours.”
“The Securing the Cities program is a key component of the Department’s efforts to protect the nation from terrorist threats,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “The STC pilot program has helped build a capability among first responders to help detect illicit radiological and nuclear weapons or materials in a major metropolitan area that simply did not exist four years ago.”
“Through the Securing the Cities program, the New York City region is providing thousands of first responders with the tools they need to detect radiological and nuclear threats,” said Warren Stern, Director of DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). “This full-scale exercise will help us to determine how we can continue to improve our ability to identify, prevent and respond to potential nuclear or radiological threats.”
Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. approximately 80 police vehicles and 160 officers assigned to them will depart from in front of United Nations headquarters on 1st Avenue for various assignments related to the exercise.
Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., there will be increased police presence at the following locations in the Bronx, in conjunction with the exercise:
- Macombs Dam Bridge
- 138th Street (Madison Avenue) Bridge
- 225th Street Bridge
- 145th Street Bridge
- Third Avenue Bridge
The exercise will involve 40 NYPD, US Coast Guard and other law enforcement vessels assigned to establish choke points on waters off New York City on Thursday.
The exercise is built on a foundation developed during a tabletop exercise held February 16 at New York City Police Department Headquarters in which 100 representatives of law enforcement and public safety agencies discussed how they would handle an imminent radiological attack on the New York region. The scenario involves thefts of radiological material by four separate cells of a fictional terrorist group intent on targeting New York City with a dirty bomb.
The STC initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is designed to stop terrorists from infiltrating a major city with a dirty bomb or nuclear device. The NYPD has twelve principal Securing the Cities partners who in turn represent regional local partners in their jurisdiction. The principal partners are:
Connecticut State Police
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department
Nassau County Police Department
New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
New York City Fire Department
New York State Office of Homeland Security
New Jersey State Police
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department
Rockland County Sheriff’s Office
Suffolk County Police Department
Westchester County Department of Public Safety
Federal agencies supporting the exercise include the Department of Homeland Security, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, and the United States Coast Guard.