Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: NYPD counter-terror patrols keep city waterways, airspace safe
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The New York City Police Department has its eyes in the sky and on the water, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger got an exclusive tour of air and water counter-terrorism patrols and filed the following report.

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The New York City Police Department's aviation unit constantly patrols what is called "critical infrastructure" in the city. That includes dozens of sites like the Empire state Building, Statue of Liberty and George Washington Bridge.

The aviation unit is one of those counter-terrorism strategies New Yorkers don't often see. As it checks out vulnerable locations like massive fuel tanks, oil barges or airports, it also monitors the many unoccupied islands around the city, which are locations where anti-aircraft missiles might be launched.

"We also have cameras, we have forward-looking RADAR," says Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

From a bird's eye view, the aviation unit also checks out Yankee Stadium, Citi Field and subway rail yards.

The NYPD's watchful eyes are always on the water as well, as there is 600 miles of shoreline in the five boroughs.

A specialized NYPD counter-terrorism boat travels around the waterways of the city with radiation detectors, looking for any signs of trouble.

"We will go around large industrial ships bringing cargo, cruise ships, personal pleasure craft, small boats," says Captain Mike Riggio of the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Division.

Just in case a craft has a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb on board, high-tech radiation and nuclear detectors are built into the counter-terrorism boat.

The Brooklyn Bridge, a known target, is constantly under NYPD surveillance. Officers say they also monitor the ventilation ducts for the city's major tunnels, like the Brooklyn Battery and Midtown.

"Those areas are critical that we keep them protected," said Riggio.

"We need to protect ourselves on all fronts from all sorts of different weapons," said Kelly.

NYPD officials say all of their counter-terrorism strategies are designed not only to detect trouble, but to deter it as well.

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