FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY, SENATOR LIEBERMAN AND REPRESENTATIVE KING CHALLENGE CONGRESS TO FUND THE 'SECURING THE CITIES' PROGRAM TO PROTECT REGION FROM NUCLEAR TERRORISM
Also Announce New January Police Academy Class Funded by Stimulus Security Grant
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Representative Peter T. King today challenged Congress to adequately fund the Securing the Cities program, which would ring the region with sensors to detect radioactive material before it entered New York City. The Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee is currently considering the Appropriations Act that would fund Securing the Cities. They also announced that over 100 police officers will be hired using a $36 million stimulus grant from the Transit Security Grant Program, creating a new NYPD Police Academy class in January. Before the stimulus funds were awarded, the January Police Academy class was cancelled to help balance the City's budget during tough economic times. The announcement was made at the Citigroup Center in Manhattan, which was put under surveillance by terrorist operatives in the past.
"We know that New York is still a target for terrorists and we aren't going to let our guard down," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We've come together today to announce a new Police Academy class that will protect our subways and to challenge Congress to restore funding for a key part of our defense - the Securing the Cities initiative."
"The NYPD has built a tremendous counter terrorism capacity, almost all of it on the City's dime," said Police Commissioner Kelly. "Federal support for officers to be assigned to the subways is welcome, indeed. But the Federal government's responsibility doesn't end there. It must fully support the plan - as originally envisioned - to stop terrorists from smuggling a nuclear device or dirty bomb into New York City. As recent events should suggest, this is no time for parsimony."
"Unfortunately, eight years after September 11, 2001, the American people remain a prime target of terrorists," said Senator Lieberman. "Fortunately, we are getting better at deterring them. The tri-state area is a proving ground for our next generation defenses against nuclear terrorism. If we can make it work here, we can make it work anywhere."
"Very simply, the New York City region is the number one terrorist target," said Representative King. "To shortchange funding for this critical program which will help protect this area from a terrorist attack carried out by a radiological or nuclear weapon is the height of irresponsibility."
"I applaud the Obama Administration for investing stimulus funds into programs that aid our police officers," said Representative Yvette D. Clarke. "The $36 million from the Transit Security Grant Program will be used to hire over 100 new cops. This grant creates jobs while enhancing the NYPD's ability to protect our residents. The Securing the Cities Initiative is another essential counterterrorism tool used to keep New York and the tri-state region safe from potential nuclear threats. I was successful in getting the Clarke/King amendment, which would provide $50 million for the program and radiological detection monitors, into the house Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. I am now leading the fight to ensure that the money stays in the bill through house-senate negotiation process. The recent terrorism arrests in New York and Denver and the alleged plot is yet another example of why this program is so important to our City and our region."
New York City is the first site for the Securing the Cities program, which creates a multi-layered ring of sensors throughout the tri-state area. Sensors at highways, toll plazas, bridges, tunnels, and waterways can detect radioactive and nuclear material before it enters the City. Detection devices have already been placed at major entry points into the City and distributed to law enforcement partners in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Additional funding is needed to purchase more sensors, link the equipment, and conduct training exercises.
In July, Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano announced that $36 million in federal stimulus funding from the Transit Security Grant Program will be used to hire over 100 new NYPD police officers to bolster the protection of the subway system against terrorist attack. These officers will enter the Police Academy in January, and when they graduate, they will replace more veteran officers who will be dedicated to patrolling the subway system. This Police Academy class was previously cancelled to help balance the City's budget during tough economic times.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958