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Thread: The NYPD's Fight Against Terrorism

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    Default The NYPD's Fight Against Terrorism

    From the February 03, 2003 issue of New York Magazine

    The NYPD's War On Terror

    Frustrated by the lack of help from Washington, police commissioner Ray Kelly has created his own versions of the CIA and the FBI within the department. So how will we know if he has succeeded? If nothing happens.

    By Craig Horowitz

    Buried deep in the heart of one of New York's outer boroughs, in an area inhabited by junkyards and auto-body shops, is an unmarked redbrick building that stands as an extraordinary symbol of police commissioner Ray Kelly's obsessive commitment to the fight against terrorism. Here, miles from Manhattan, is the headquarters of the NYPD's one-year-old counterterrorism bureau.

    When you step through the plain metal door at the side of the building, it is like falling down the rabbit hole—you're transported from a mostly desolate, semi-industrial area in the shadow of an elevated highway into the new, high-tech, post-9/11 world of the New York City Police Department.

    The place is so gleaming and futuristic—so unlike the average police precinct, with furniture and equipment circa 1950—that you half expect to see Q come charging out with his latest super-weapon for 007. Headlines race across LED news tickers. There are electronic maps and international-time walls with digital readouts for cities such as Moscow, London, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Islamabad, Manila, Sydney, Baghdad, and Tokyo.

    In what is called the Global Intelligence Room, twelve large flat-screen TVs that hang from ceiling mounts broadcast Al-Jazeera and a variety of other foreign programming received via satellite. The Police Department's newly identified language specialists—who speak, among other tongues, Arabic, Pashto, Urdu, and Fujianese—sit with headphones on, monitoring the broadcasts.

    There are racks of high-end audio equipment for listening, taping, and dubbing; computer access to a host of superdatabases; stacks of intelligence reports and briefing books on all the world's known terrorist organizations; and a big bulletin board featuring a grid with the names and phone numbers of key people in other police departments in this country and around the world.

    The security area just inside the door is encased not only in bulletproof glass but in ballistic Sheetrock as well. The building has its own backup generator (everyone learned the importance of redundancy on September 11); and the center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Even the 125 cops in the bureau (hand-picked from nearly 900 applicants) look a little sharper. Some are in dark-navy polo shirts that bear the counterterrorism-bureau logo, and others are in suits that seem to be a cut above the usual discount-warehouse version of cop fashion.

    Though the counterterrorism bureau is still in its infancy, law-enforcement officials from around the U.S. and overseas regularly come to see it and learn. And it was all put together practically overnight—it opened in February of last year, little more than a month after Ray Kelly was sworn in as police commissioner.

    The bureau, along with the NYPD's totally revamped intelligence division, and the high-level hires from Washington—a lieutenant general from the Pentagon and a spymaster from the CIA—is part of Kelly's vision to remake the NYPD into a force that can effectively respond to the world's dangerous new realities.

    There are now New York City police officers stationed in London working with New Scotland Yard; in Lyons at the headquarters of Interpol; and in Hamburg, Tel Aviv, and Toronto. There are also two cops on assignment at FBI headquarters in Washington, and New York detectives have traveled to Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, and the military's prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba to conduct interrogations. Members of the department's command staff have also attended sessions at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

    And there are the Hercules Teams, elite, heavily armed, Special Forces–type police units that pop up daily around the city. It can be at the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, or the stock exchange, wherever the day's intelligence reports suggest they could be needed. These small teams arrive in black Suburbans, sheathed in armor-plated vests and carrying 9-mm. submachine guns—sometimes with air or sea support. Their purpose is to intimidate and to very publicly mount a show of force. Kelly knows that terrorists do a lot of reconnaissance, and the Hercules Teams were designed to disrupt their planning. Like an ADT warning sign in front of a house, they're also intended to send a message that this is not an easy target.

    The police commissioner now has what's called an STU (Secured Telephone Unit) on his desk. It is a phone line that enables him to talk to someone in the White House or the Pentagon without fear of being monitored. When a key on the phone is turned, the conversation is electronically encrypted.

    "We are doing all these things," Kelly says over coffee in his fourteenth-floor office at police headquarters, "because New York is still the No. 1 target. We have been targeted four times, twice successfully, and the city remains the most symbolic, substantive target for the terrorists. These are cunning, patient, deliberate people who want to kill us and kill us in big numbers."


    On a bright October day several weeks after September 11, Kelly and his wife, Veronica, were finally allowed to return to their Battery Park City apartment—not to move back in, but to pick up a few personal items. Before they left the building, one block from the World Trade Center, they went up to the roof. There, Kelly consoled his weeping wife as they looked in stunned disbelief at the devastation of their neighborhood.

    Eight years earlier, back in 1993 when the Trade Center was attacked the first time, Kelly was police commissioner. Mayor David Dinkins was in Japan when the buildings were bombed, so Kelly essentially took charge. It was Kelly who went on television to calm the city, to let everyone know in his powerful Marine kind of way that everything was under control.

    Now Kelly is staking his reputation and his legacy on the fight against terrorism. "Four months after 9/11, when Kelly was about to be sworn in, you just didn't get a sense of confidence at the federal, state, or local level that changes were being made," says former NYPD first deputy commissioner John Timoney, who was recently named police chief of Miami. "Ray could easily have said, 'What do I know about this stuff? It's the Feds' job.' It takes a lot of courage to do what he's doing. He's leaving himself open to be second-guessed and criticized if things don't go well. So he's making decisions that may benefit the city but be detrimental to him personally."

    Kelly is familiar with being second-guessed and criticized. He served as NYPD commissioner during the final eighteen months of the Dinkins administration, in 1992 and '93. Though he was essentially finishing Commissioner Lee Brown's term, he did manage several significant accomplishments. He cleaned up and restructured Internal Affairs, which was a serious mess. And it was Kelly, not Bratton or Giuliani, who took care of the squeegee guys.

    Not that anyone knows it. "When Bratton came in with his arrogance and swagger, he showed Ray up nine ways from Sunday," says a former high-level member of Bratton's own team. "Giuliani and Bratton lumped him in with Dinkins as one big ineffective management disaster."

    So Kelly has plenty of reasons to want to make his mark this time. Even so, isn't combating terrorism primarily a federal responsibility?

    When I ask Kelly this question, he looks at me long and hard. He is a man who knows his way around Washington. In addition to his time in the mid-nineties as undersecretary of the Treasury, he was head of the Customs Service. He also worked for Interpol and was a special State Department envoy in Haiti where he was sent to establish and train a police force.

    "I knew we couldn't rely on the federal government," Kelly says finally. "I know it from my own experience. We're doing all the things we're doing because the federal government isn't doing them. It's not enough to say it's their job if the job isn't being done. Since 9/11, the federal government hasn't taken any additional resources and put them here."

    Has any kind of an increased federal presence been asked for? Soldiers? Fighter planes? More FBI agents? "Asked for?" he says, repeating my question incredulously. "Would you think it would have to be asked for? Look," he says, shifting in his chair and crossing his legs so the .38 in his ankle holster is visible. "It's a different world. We've redeployed. We've got 1,000 people on this. All seven subway tunnels under the river are covered, and it's the same with all the other sensitive locations. It's taken constant attention. It's extremely difficult. But make no mistake: It's something we have to do ourselves."

    Every morning at eight, in the commissioner's conference room on the top floor of police headquarters (another NYPD venue where, by the way, you can watch Al-Jazeera), Kelly is briefed by his two key players in the counterterrorism battle: Lieutenant General Frank Libutti, who runs the department's counterterrorism bureau, and David Cohen, formerly No. 4 at the CIA, who is now in charge of the NYPD's intelligence division.

    The two men couldn't play more to type if they were actors hired to fill these roles. Libutti, a fit, silver-haired 35-year veteran who was in charge of all Marine forces in the Pacific and the Persian Gulf, is, in a word, crisp. His navy pinstripe suit looks perfectly tailored, his shirt is starched, and he has an open, forthright manner. He is friendly in a lieutenant-general-determined-to-stay-on-message sort of way. He calls terrorists "the bad guys."

    Cohen is a much grayer, more recessive presence. He has been described as "bookish," but that's not quite right. His look is much closer to that of, say, a software designer, someone who appears both geeky and cunning.

    Cohen rarely gives interviews, and in the days following his appointment, he seemed to be amusing himself and perhaps trying to create a mysterious aura by playing with the reporters who questioned him. He was very sketchy on the details of his background. When asked his age, he'd respond only that he was "somewhere between 28 and 70." (For the record, he's 61.)

    "I knew we had to do business differently," Kelly says of his marquee hires. "I thought we had to get some people with a fresh outlook and with federal experience to help us."

    With Libutti, Kelly gets someone who has command presence, a man who has known pressure and conflict—he was injured three times in Vietnam. Libutti also has a record of accomplishment as someone who can, as they like to say in the military, organize and marshal forces and execute an objective. And in fact, he was able to "stand up" the counterterrorism bureau (Marine-speak for get it up and running) within weeks.

    Job one for the new bureau is threat assessment on landmarks, public and private properties, and the city's infrastructure. The bureau has nine five-man teams, whose members were schooled at the federal law-enforcement training center in Georgia.

    These teams could, for example, look at the Brooklyn Bridge, a Con Ed plant, or the offices of New York Magazine. Once an inspection is complete, the team produces a written report that includes detailed security suggestions. Though most of the sites are chosen by the bureau based on risk level, some are done by request. This process has helped the department establish closer ties to the business community.

    I knew we couldn't rely on the federal government. We're doing all the things we're doing because the federal government isn't doing them. It's not enough to say it's their job if the job isn't being done.

    The counterterrorism bureau also does independent intelligence analysis. The focus is on techniques. If two suicide bombers in a row in Israel are wearing Columbia ski jackets, for example, they'll identify the marker and issue an alert so cops here are aware of this.

    Cohen's challenge, on the other hand, was to re-create and give new relevance to a division in the Police Department that already existed. "Our intelligence division was in essence an escort service," says Kelly. "They handled dignitaries and bigwigs when they came into town. It was an intelligence service in name only. We simply had to get better information. We didn't know what was going on in our own city, let alone the rest of the world."

    On paper, Cohen is exactly what Kelly needed to execute his vision: a high-level guy from inside the intelligence community who has knowledge and access. Someone who can get the right people on the phone and find out what they know. Libutti is plugged in as well. Just before joining the NYPD, he was a special assistant to Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge. He served as a liaison between Ridge and the Pentagon.

    One morning in Libutti's ninth-floor office at police headquarters, he and Cohen talked about their roles. They are kind of like the Rumsfeld and Tenet of the Police Department. Cohen, who is fairly expansive considering his reputation, admits that when they signed on, their roles were not all that well defined.

    "When we got here, there was no counterterrorism doctrine for a city like New York," he says in a faint Boston accent. "There was no playbook, no manual you could turn to and say, 'We should do two of these and a couple of the things in that chapter, and we have now built our counterterrorism program.' The process for us has been to write and implement the playbook simultaneously. And it's like trying to change the tires on a speeding car."

    What comes through most clearly from the two men is that the lifeblood of their efforts is information. Cohen makes this point when he discusses the recent incident in London when authorities arrested three men suspected in a plot to unleash cyanide in the Underground: "When something like that happens, we need to know in real time everything we can find out about it. Obviously, the subway is a real hot spot for us given that three and a half million people a day use it. So we need to understand what kind of operation they tried to roll up, was it pre-surveillance-stage, planning-stage, was it really cyanide, was the subway the real target? The more times things get rolled up overseas, the smarter we get. And the smarter we get, the stronger we get."

    The flow of quality information is also critical in helping Kelly decide how to respond to threats. Most threats that come in, according to Cohen, don't name a place, so it is often difficult even to be sure New York is the target. "You have to understand the nuances of the threat," Cohen says. "Where it's coming from, how to define it, what it really means. Frank and I help interpret the information, and that enables the commissioner to make an informed decision about responding. This war is going to go on a long time, and you've got to calibrate your response. You don't want to burn everyone out."


    What Kelly has done with Libutti and Cohen, essentially, is to create his own FBI and CIA within the New York City Police Department. "This is all about Ray Kelly's contempt for the Feds and how they blew it, over and over again," says a former member of the NYPD who knows the commissioner well.

    "The Feds kept getting information they didn't act on," he continues. "So what Kelly's trying to do is say, 'Hey, just in case they don't fix all that stuff at the FBI and the CIA, we gotta find out the things they're finding out. And we gotta act on them.' Let's face it: A lot of this isn't rocket science. It's cultivating sources, talking to informants, running down leads, getting search warrants, and following up on every piece of information you get. In other words, it's good, solid investigative police work. The kind of thing New York cops do every day."

    It's not every day, however, that a major figure in law enforcement like Kelly does something so contemptuous of the system. Yet there has been no outrage, no intramural rock-throwing over what he's done. Even the FBI, which has traditionally looked down on local cops, has barely raised an eyebrow over Kelly's moves.

    "Our intelligence service was in essence an escort service," says Commissioner Kelly. "They handled dignitaries and bigwigs when they came into town. We simply had to get better information."

    One possible explanation for the FBI's passivity is that the agency has been under such relentless critical fire from Congress and the media that it is in no position to take on new battles. Another possibility is assistant FBI director Kevin Donovan, who was recently put in charge of the FBI's New York office. Donovan gets high marks for competence and as a team player. By all accounts, he is someone who looks to eliminate problems rather than create them.

    But the most significant factor may be the most obvious. Given everything that has happened, the FBI may simply be happy to have the help. When I interviewed both Donovan and Joseph Billy, the agent in charge of counterterrorism in New York, they praised Kelly and his cops with alacrity.

    "This is a very big city," says Donovan, "and we just don't have the resources to collect all the information. We don't have 40,000 eyes and ears on patrol like the NYPD. We have 1,100 agents in this office. And no one knows the streets here like the local officers. They know what to look for at two in the morning. They know what's out of place, what doesn't seem right. What Ray Kelly is doing makes perfect sense and is complementary to what we do. No city is better prepared right now than New York."

    Tom Reppetto, who heads the Citizens Crime Commission and has written a history of the department called NYPD: A City and Its Police, more or less agrees with Donovan. In addition, he says, the FBI is not an immediate-response agency in any event. You wouldn't call the FBI, for example, if you found a bomb in Union Square Park.

    "Remember, too, that the police can do a lot of the counterterrorism work as part of their regular duties," Reppetto says. "You'll notice there's been a surge in arrests of homeless people recently, and they seem to be getting arrested under bridges and in tunnels. Know why? Because police are spending a lot of time under bridges and in tunnels."

    The relationship between the FBI and the NYPD has probably never been more critical than it is right now. The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force is one of the key instruments in the effort to protect the city. The task force was a relatively sleepy backwater run by the FBI but made up of both agents and detectives. One of Kelly's earliest moves was to pump up the number of detectives from 17 to 125, a huge commitment that the FBI matched. Kelly's intensity and his willingness to push the envelope were demonstrated early on when he tried to muscle control of the JTTF away from the FBI. According to sources, Kelly and Libutti sent a two-star police chief named Phil Pulaski over to the JTTF, which is housed at the FBI's New York headquarters.

    Pulaski is generally viewed within the NYPD as brilliant—he designed and set up the police lab. However, as one cop put it to me, he also has a "Ph.D. in pissing people off." So he trooped over to the JTTF and told them, after the FBI had been in charge for over twenty years, that he was now the boss. Though you can imagine the reaction by the Feds, Donovan managed to maintain his cool and prevent a truly damaging explosion.

    He simply told Libutti it was not going to work. "You can't send a guy to my house," the director reportedly said, "and have him say he's in charge. Especially without even calling me." Libutti said he was sorry and reeled Pulaski back in.

    But the response from the two sides when this episode is brought up is perhaps more revealing than the incident itself. "Pulaski had a job to do," says the FBI's Joseph Billy. "He had to integrate a large number of detectives into the task force, and he's a very results-oriented individual. There was some tension, but it all worked out. The FBI is still the lead agency for the JTTF."

    Libutti is not quite as conciliatory: "Without criticizing their efforts, part of our responsibility is to reach out to the federal side and demand excellence in support of what we're doing. I got a guy over there—Pulaski—who's hard-charging. His job is to keep me posted, and he's going to press, press, press, to turn over every rock to find out everything that's happening on the federal side. I think I know what's going on. What worries me is what I don't know."

    Part of what Kelly learned during his first term as commissioner—and its aftermath—is the importance of perception. It may not be fair and it may not be right, but sometimes it is not enough just to do a good job.

    Self-promotion is not Kelly's natural mode, but it seems he has learned a few things from watching eight years of Giuliani. Kelly has become the face of the NYPD in the same way that Giuliani was always the face of New York. If there's a bodega robbed in the Bronx on a Sunday afternoon, it is most likely Ray Kelly who will be on the six- and eleven-o'clock news.

    He also must have recognized, coming back to the NYPD, that no matter what he did on the crime front, he would not get any credit. When the FBI crime stats were released last month, New York's numbers were terrific. That week, in an editorial celebrating the continuing crime decline, the New York Post congratulated Kelly this way: "The local crime rate continues to drop—even as crime nationwide is on the rise—because Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg continue to employ the previous administration's anti-crime tactics."

    Terrorism, by contrast, is Kelly's fight. But for all of the risk and the additional headaches, Kelly may, ironically, end up getting very little credit on this front even if he succeeds. When you're battling street crime, success and failure are easy to measure. Murder goes up or goes down. Rapes increase or they decrease. But how do you measure the terrorist acts that didn't happen? The ones all the painstaking work may have prevented? In fact, some of the successes may never even be made public when they do occur.

    In November, the Times ran a full-page story with the headline deepening shadows that stated in its lead, "Once again, it's not uncommon to feel a vague sense of dread when walking down a shadowy street." And "New Yorkers are more fearful these days."

    "You don't want this kind of perception to fester," Kelly says with a hint of frustration in his voice. "I'm aware it's out there. But it is a little difficult to deal with when it's not based on some reality."

    With the crime numbers way down from four years ago, why do average people say they feel less safe? What has changed for them? "The elephant in the corner of the room," Kelly says, "is 9/11. That's why people feel less safe."

    So Kelly's job is to end the fear. Not the fear of conventional street crime, which continues to be under control, but fear of a menace that can be very hard to see. "Kelly's a very methodical guy who does things step-by-step, by the numbers," says Reppetto. "And he is clearly determined that if something does happen, nobody is going to be able to say they didn't do everything possible to stop it. There won't be some report issued afterward saying the NYPD fell short."


    The most obvious tests of Kelly's new counterterrorism strategy are large public events. And two months ago, with several hundred thousand people gathered in Times Square for New Year's Eve, the pressure was really on the commissioner and the NYPD. They had executed what Kelly calls their "counterterrorism overlay package." Undercovers were everywhere. Intelligence officers mingled in the crowd. Sharpshooters were on the rooftops. Police boats were on the water, choppers were overhead, and Hercules Teams were ready to move.

    Kelly also had the department's Archangel package in place, which includes ESU teams equipped to detect a chemical or biological attack and to respond if one does in fact occur.

    Is New York less safe than it was? "You don't want this kind of perception to fester. I'm aware that it's out there. The elephant in the corner of the room is 9/11. That's why people feel less safe."

    The five days leading up to the celebration had been especially difficult. There were intelligence reports detailing serious harbor threats, including information about a possible plan to stage eight separate diversionary acts culminating with a major terrorist attack. All the locations were covered. The water had an eerie, blacker-than-usual look to it because it was mostly empty. No pleasure boats were allowed out.

    Police had also been looking for the five men who might have come across the border from Canada using illegal documents. Michael John Hamdani, the Pakistani document forger under arrest in Toronto, told the NYPD detective who interrogated him about the men. This prompted the FBI to instigate and then call off a nationwide manhunt. Hamdani, however, didn't say they were terrorists, just that they were trying to sneak into the U.S. For Kelly, this highlighted what he believes is an ongoing alien-smuggling problem. Cops hit various locations around the city during the day, and several arrests were made.

    Kelly also had credible intelligence that something might happen between Christmas and New Year's Day at the stock exchange. All week, Hercules Teams had been flooding the financial district. And then, of course, there was the gathering in Times Square itself.

    "We were covering a lot of bases," says Kelly. "But we were addressing all these things appropriately. We all felt we'd done everything we could've reasonably done to make the night a safe one. You can really see the force and the power of the Police Department manifestly displayed on a night like New Year's Eve."

    Finally, at around 1:30 in the morning, when most of the crowd had drifted away, Kelly had a momentary flash of relief, and satisfaction. The night had been so well handled that there were only three arrests—for disorderly conduct—in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people. But Kelly's pleasure was short-lived. "When you get past a particular event now, there's the next event you have to address. And we were concerned about New Year's Day."


    Kelly has taken on this burden at an extraordinarily difficult moment for the Police Department. With the city facing its most serious deficits in 30 years, budget cuts have hit the department hard. By July, Kelly will be down 3,000 officers from the roughly 40,000-man force he took over last January. In addition, he has 1,000 cops assigned full-time to his fight against the terrorists.

    In an attempt to fill in the gaps, Kelly has energetically tried to convince the federal government that the cost of protecting New York is no longer just a municipal responsibility. Though a half-billion dollars of need has been identified, Kelly and his staff have whittled it down to a $261 million list that includes money for training and equipment. Despite several trips to Washington, Kelly has so far made no progress.

    He has also been a good soldier and not publicly fought with the mayor over budget issues. When the mayor was booed last week at the graduation ceremony for 2,108 new cops—largely because his budget-cutting included talk of police layoffs—Kelly enthusiastically came to his defense. However, the police commissioner was not always so sanguine about the cuts. When Bloomberg made his first statement last July calling for 7.5 percent cuts across all city departments, sources say, Kelly balked.

    According to one source, Kelly initially told the mayor he couldn't play ball on the budget cuts. He was not going to be the police commissioner on whose watch crime began to go up because the department was underfunded and undermanned. Though everything was worked out amicably, Bloomberg's people actually contacted several former commissioners—including Bratton and Timoney—to see what they were up to. "The conversations were to put out friendly feelers that were one stop short of 'Are you still available?,' says the source.

    The potential downside for Kelly of this focus on counterterrorism is enormous. "I know there's a universe out there just waiting to say, 'Aha, I told you so,' " he says. "But let me tell you something. We're taking care of business. There is this notion that this administration cannot do it all, something's gotta give. Well, the city is safer than it's ever been in modern history."

    Before september 11, the nightmare that haunted New York's police commissioners—and commissioners in other big cities as well—tended to revolve around police brutality and race—Amadou Diallo, say, or Rodney King. One commissioner who left his job not all that long ago while riding a wave of popularity in his city reportedly told a confidant that he believed he was "one 3 a.m. phone call away from having it all fall apart." Since 9/11, of course, "having it all fall apart" means something entirely different—and much scarier. "We don't know the time and we don't know the place," says Libutti, "but we do know the bad guys are coming back."

    Sitting in his office one recent evening as a cold wind whipped across the plaza in front of police headquarters, Kelly showed no signs of the pressure he is under.

    "I enjoy this job and I'm living in the moment," he said while eating a cookie. "The world has changed, but I believe I'm doing the right thing. We're the biggest, most important city in the world, and this is the biggest, most talented police force. And we have done everything we can reasonably do to prevent another attack."

  2. #2


    February 15, 2004

    New York Police Take Broad Steps in Facing Terror


    New York City police joined the medical examiner's office in a chemical weapons attack drill last September at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

    The New York Police Department, working with city health officials, federal authorities and other agencies, has been preparing for a possible attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, perhaps the most daunting threat facing municipalities in a post-9/11 world.

    Meeting in secret and conducting complex drills, the department has brought together government agencies in a broad effort for much of the last year. In doing so, it has put together a program that some national security and law enforcement officials describe as unrivaled among American cities.

    Police officials say special units have trained and drilled, for instance, to board cruise ships from helicopters and piers and have begun reviewing floor plans of most large Midtown theaters, conducting exercises inside some to improve their ability to respond to a possible attack, in the aftermath of the deadly siege of a Moscow theater two years ago. This spring, city and federal officials say, the police will work alongside the city health department and other agencies to open a pilot program that they hope will ultimately allow officials to test the air across the city for biological agents quickly and constantly.

    The Police Department has also begun to prepare for its role in a sweeping citywide plan to get antibiotics or vaccine to every resident after a widespread attack with biological weapons, and is drafting security plans for about 200 sites that could function as distribution centers.

    Officials say the department has even taken to the city's streets to conduct a drill with the city's medical examiner's office to prepare for a chemical weapons attack that would litter the streets with contaminated bodies.

    "We're thinking about the unthinkable — what a few years ago was the unthinkable," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a recent interview, adding that the preparations were not in response to a specific or direct threat. "It's something we're trying to take head-on, but the scope and magnitude of the problems are daunting."

    Department officials said that much of the planning was still preliminary, and that much remained to be done. And already, they acknowledge, they recognize that some measures may simply be unworkable. The Police Department, for example, has deep concerns about its ability to enforce a quarantine in all or part of the city.

    "They are trying to do what Washington is supposed to be doing, but isn't," said a former national security official in the Clinton and the second Bush administrations, Richard A. Clarke.

    Weeks spent with department officials and exercises in recent months in which officials brainstormed and struggled with the novel problems an attack could pose underscored both the epic challenges facing the city and the size of its ambitions.

    Extensive interviews show, among other things, that the Police Department is scheduled to begin chemical and biological training for entire units on Wednesday, with the goal of having 10,000 officers ready in time for the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 at Madison Square Garden. The department, too, is helping to prepare guidelines so police detectives and F.B.I. agents can conduct joint investigations with city health department epidemiologists in the event of a biological attack.

    Some health department officials will also obtain top-secret security clearances so they, too, can use classified information as part of those inquiries, officials said.

    The Police Department is also preparing a plan to house and feed thousands of police officers, in some cases in city schools, to help keep them working in the aftermath of a catastrophic attack.

    The Lessons of Sept. 11

    The agency's past performance in responding to terrorist attacks has not been an unmitigated success. Indeed, some critics have said that major gaps in coordination and planning were evident in its response to the Sept. 11 attacks. But officials say that it was partly to address many of those sorts of issues and to plan for the threats of the future that it brought in a team of experts, including David Cohen, a former top official at the Central Intelligence Agency, and Michael Sheehan, the State Department's counterterrorism chief under President Bill Clinton.

    After a huge attack, officials acknowledge, the responsibilities of the Police Department would be enormous and would potentially create a significant strain on manpower, despite a force of roughly 37,000 that makes it the nation's largest municipal police agency. Officers would be needed to provide security for hospitals, drug distribution centers and other locations. They would also play some role in securing or transporting the drugs from the strategic pharmaceutical stockpile, which is where the city would get antibiotics or vaccine to distribute after a biological attack.

    Additional officers would be required to maintain order in a potentially panicky city, which could experience an exodus, at the same time the department would be seeking to increase patrols to deter a possible secondary attack as they were investigating the one that had already occurred.

    The city also faces other potential obstacles. While a catastrophic attack would undoubtedly put the police to work beside the Fire Department, as well as a variety of other agencies, the two uniformed services have yet to complete a set of formal rules for how they should respond to disasters, a requirement to receive federal funds, despite plans to complete them by last summer. And enduring tensions between the two agencies remain.

    Further complicating matters, the city's Office of Emergency Management, the agency charged under the City Charter with coordinating the response during a disaster, has been without a commissioner since October.

    "The traditional rivalry between the police and other departments is worse than ever," said Jerome M. Hauer, a former acting assistant secretary of health and human services for biodefense in the Bush administration who now heads a biodefense center at George Washington University. Mr. Hauer also served as the city's first emergency management director.

    A spokesman for Mr. Kelly, Paul J. Browne, dismissed the criticism, noting that Mr. Hauer campaigned on behalf of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's onetime rival, Mark Green. He cited what he said were a raft of measures Mr. Kelly had taken to improve relations with the Fire Department.

    But Mr. Kelly acknowledged that no one was overconfident.

    "I know that we've done more about this problem than any other police department in the country, but that's not enough," Mr. Kelly said. "It's like an onion: you peel it off and there are so many other issues that emerge."

    A High-Tech Wall of Defense

    Early detection, experts have long argued, is perhaps the most important aspect of a response to a biological or chemical attack. And so for months, New York has been trying to acquire the most sophisticated detection equipment available.

    To that end, the city has been working with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, developers of the autonomous pathogen detection system, a set of devices that not only continuously monitor the air, but also automatically detect and identify, through multiple simultaneous testing, the presence of more than 100 different bacteria or viruses - within 45 minutes.

    Fully automated, they operate 24 hours a day for an entire week without servicing or human intervention, said John M. Dzenitis, a Livermore engineer in charge of the program.

    J. Patrick Fitch, the head of Livermore's chemical and biological national security program, said the detector's ability to test for more than 100 agents by seeking protein and DNA signatures distinguished it from other detectors. He said Washington had invested almost $20 million since 1998 in developing the system, which has been field-tested at the Albuquerque and San Francisco airports, and in Washington's Metro transit system.

    "This is as close to instant detection as any system has come," said Dani-Margot Zavasky, the physician and infectious-disease specialist whom the city's counterterrorism bureau hired as its medical director in 2002.

    Because germs spread rapidly, hours can mean the difference between warding off an epidemic and allowing it to take hold. If the city were attacked with smallpox, it would have only four days to vaccinate people potentially exposed to the virus, which kills about a third of those infected.

    But city and federal officials caution that the pathogen detection system is not ready to operate outdoors or on its own because, among other things, it has yet to be "ruggedized." "That means we don't know if it can function well in ice or heat or high winds or with someone climbing all over it," one federal official said.

    Federal and city counterterrorism officials said they hoped that several of the new detectors would be installed in time for use during the Republican convention.

    For the moment, then, the city remains reliant on the technology in place at 30 cities nationwide. The system, known as Biowatch, uses environmental air monitors to sniff the air for about 15 potentially lethal pathogens. Ten of the portable, nondescript monitors are scattered throughout the city.

    But Biowatch, officials acknowledge, does not provide "real-time detection." Federal officials or contract workers must collect filters from the monitors each day - or more often during a heightened threat - and take them to government labs for testing. This means at least a 24-hour delay before results are known.

    But similar surveillance is going on elsewhere throughout the city. The Police Department has been using more than 700 personal radiation detectors for more than a year to identify unusual radioactive materials, checking trucks on the street and cars in garages around the city, among other objects.

    And in a 14-month-old federal program, employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey equipped with radiation detection devices have been stationed at the entrances to New York bridges and tunnels, subways, airports and ports.

    Eight Million Vaccinations

    "No other city is as eager for everything we have to offer as New York," said Parney Albright, an assistant secretary of homeland security.

    The city's plan to vaccinate residents or distribute medications after a sweeping biological attack or infectious-disease outbreak, initially formulated before the Sept. 11 attacks, remains a monumental logistical challenge that would involve more than a dozen agencies and, officials say, tens of thousands of city workers and volunteers.

    In the worst case, a large attack, the working plan provides for more than 200 distribution points in the five boroughs, where as many as eight million people would go for medication or vaccinations.

    The plan was created by the city's Office of Emergency Management, which first began working on it in 1998. Officials there and at the health department, which plays perhaps the biggest role, say it will allow the city to vaccinate or distribute medication to the entire population, moving roughly 40,000 people through each distribution point, in 5 to 10 days' time.

    Officials acknowledge that the goal - giving the city the capability to provide medication quickly enough to save lives - would be extraordinarily difficult to achieve in the kind of crisis atmosphere that an attack with smallpox or other pathogen would create.

    But the health commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, along with emergency management and other officials, call the plan flexible, carefully considered and exhaustive. They say it will get the job done.

    "I'm not minimizing how difficult it would be," Dr. Frieden said. But he cited the city's sweeping smallpox vaccination effort more than 50 years ago as an example. "In 1947, the city vaccinated six million people in three weeks, so it's been done before," he said.

    The plan, subject to revision, could also be instituted on a much smaller scale, such as for a neighborhood.

    Police officials, working with the health department and the Office of Emergency Management, have begun to put together their own specific programs for each of the 203 distribution points, which would be in specially selected city buildings in the five boroughs, city schools among them. The Police Department has dispatched a commander to each location to begin drafting a plan to help get them up and running.

    Police officers would provide security outside the buildings, and school security officers would be stationed inside, another official said.

    Planning Without End

    "I don't think our planning will ever be done," Dr. Frieden said. "We always want to be more prepared.''

    Officials pointed to a distribution drill in May 2002 run by the Office of Emergency Management, along with the health department, the Police and Fire Departments and other agencies. During the daylong exercise, a single distribution point was able to process more than 1,400 people an hour, well beyond, the 400-an-hour rate each of the 200 distribution points would need to handle to vaccinate or provide medication to eight million people in five days, officials said.

    The proposal on the table at an emergency response strategy session one Saturday late last year was ambitious but complicated: a plan to distribute atropine anti-nerve agent auto-injectors to all city police units to enable them to respond more quickly to a chemical weapons attack.

    The Office of Emergency Management, city hospitals, ambulances and police emergency teams now have 100,000 Mark I auto-injectors that American soldiers in Iraq were given in the early days of the war to protect them from a deadly nerve agent attack.

    To be effective, the needles containing the powerful antidote must be jabbed into a victim exposed to a nerve agent within minutes of exposure. But the injectors are useless against non-nerve agents. And administering this powerful drug to someone who has not been exposed to such an agent could have severe and adverse health consequences, Dr. Zavasky warned those at the meeting that day.

    The atropine injection kits, she also noted, are designed mainly for military use - for young, healthy soldiers. They have not been widely tested on civilians, she said.

    "For most chemical agents, removing clothing and washing with soap and water eliminates 85 to 95 percent of the chemicals," she said.

    In the end, then, the city decided not to expand its distribution of the antidotes to greater numbers of police officers, which, officials said, would be impractical and risky.

    Understanding Limitations

    As the city wrestles with the question of how best to prepare for a major attack, officials say, deciding what not to attempt is almost as important as deciding what to try.

    "Be realistic," Mr. Kelly cautioned at a recent gathering of senior police officials.

    That realism, officials say, can be dictated in part by financial, legal and practical constraints. And federal counterterrorism officials and private experts have praised Mr. Kelly's decision not to opt for what terrorism experts call a theoretical "gold standard" in efforts to deter and, if need be, respond to an attack with unconventional weapons that may not be practical.

    And so, because of cost or logistical reasons, the city has also ruled out developing its own stockpile of drugs and vaccines for police use in an unconventional terrorist attack. Instead, it has chosen to rely on the federal government's strategic stockpiles, which are supposed to be able to be delivered to New York in a matter of hours.

    A critical issue police officials have agonized over is the question of enforcing a quarantine and isolation in the event of an epidemic caused by natural or unnatural causes, like a terrorist attack.

    Initially, the Police Department considered devising its own plan to isolate those who might have been exposed to a highly infectious, potentially lethal agent. But city health officials have begun to formulate a plan to persuade New Yorkers exposed to a deadly infectious pathogen to stay at home. The plan would use inducements, which in some cases would include food deliveries and medical care.

    Moreover, the city recently changed the health code to allow the city to detain anyone health officials suspect of having being exposed to a deadly infectious pathogen.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by BigMac
    New York Post
    March 22, 2004

    The Tracks of our Fears


    Heavily armed NYPD cop makes his presence felt.

    In the wake of the commuter train bombings in Madrid that claimed 202 lives, the NYPD has mounted an unprecedented security effort in the city's subway system in the hopes of thwarting a massive terror attack here.
    Teams of police officers have been doing surprise "security sweeps" on subway cars before they enter a tunnel or cross a bridge as part of a larger plan to keep straphangers safe, The Post has learned.

    An NYPD Total Order Maintenance Sweep typically lasts a few minutes and involves 10 to 12 cops who inspect a train at a station just before it is set to enter a tunnel or about to go over a span like the Manhattan or Williamsburg bridges.

    The sweeps have steadily increased following the bloody terrorist bombings two weeks ago in Spain.

    "The entire train is searched," said Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown, the NYPD spokesman. "In most cases, the public doesn't even know it's happening."

    The officers do a random search of each subway car, eyeballing straphangers and packages looking for anything suspicious that may be on board.

    Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Amtrak cops have been doing similar checks since the bombings in Spain, sources said.

    Commuter trains are "more at risk" of an attack because they have luggage compartments and overhead racks that make hiding a bomb a lot easier than doing so in a subway car, law-enforcement sources said.

    The counterterrorism sweeps are part of an ongoing effort by police - in uniform and plainclothes - to beef up security on the rails.

    The NYPD's massive security effort in the subway system focuses on training, intelligence gathering and surveillance.

    Some of the anti-terrorism measures include:

    * Hercules Teams - groups of heavily armed cops - unexpectedly swarming stations in a bid to thwart terrorists from unleashing an attack.

    * Looking for suspicious behavior on trains, including cops who scan crowds and read body language.

    * Deploying cops to stations located in Jewish and Muslim neighborhoods like Cobble Hill, Borough Park and Sheepshead Bay to establish a presence.

    * Equipping over 3,200 cops on subway duty with a lightweight, military-style gas masks, which can withstand prolonged exposure to a contaminated area in the event of a biochemical attack.

    The NYPD would not comment on how many officers have been assigned to subway duty.

    There are 2,838 transit cops who work for 12 subway districts.

    Meanwhile, the MTA cops and a contingent of National Guard soldiers and State Police - equipped with bomb-sniffing dogs - have flooded Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station in an effort to secure the hubs.

    There are currently 692 MTA cops that patrol Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations. The increased security comes as the MTA prepares to make $591 million in security improvements to shore up its infrastructure.

    While how the MTA plans to spend the money is a closely guarded secret, the agency has made numerous enhancements since 9/11, including boosting its police force from 521 officers in 2001 to 723 by the end of this year.

    Other security measures include the installation of surveillance cameras in tunnels and placing at various stations shoebox-size sensors that analyze the air and would sound a silent alarm in the event terrorists unleash a biochemical attack.

    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  4. #4


    New York Daily News
    March 23, 2004

    Big hit in Gaza has city wary

    With Tony Sclafani

    Tourist talks to Emergency Service Unit police officer who was stationed near Penn Station yesterday.

    The NYPD stepped up security across the city yesterday as members of the Hamas terrorist group vowed revenge for the killing of its founder by Israel, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

    NYPD patrol cars were outside mosques and synagogues, and security was visibly increased at the UN and in front of the Israeli Consulate.

    Anti-terrorism Hercules teams patrolled city landmarks, and uniformed cops surged into the subways and transportation hubs, an increase sparked after the bombing of a commuter train in Madrid earlier this month.

    "There are no specific threats, but we're concerned about it," Kelly said. "We have additional coverage in Jewish neighborhoods and at high-visibility locations."

    Kelly said investigators also are eying neighborhoods where there are pockets of Hamas supporters.

    "Are there people who are supportive of Hamas? Yes. There are areas we give special attention to," Kelly said, adding that the Hamas belief that the United States supported Israel in the assassination was "significant."

    "I can only believe our national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that we were not informed [of the killing in advance]," Kelly said. "But the perception that is out there is significant."

    In the minutes after an Israeli helicopter gunship blew Sheik Ahmed Yassin out of his wheelchair yesterday, his followers and Hamas leaders vowed a violent and bloody revenge, which sent ripples of fear through the Jewish community.

    "I certainly thought [Yassin's assassination] was the right move, but it always comes with anxiety," said Yocheved Kushner, 35, of Rockland County, whose mother, Leah Stern, 69, of Passaic, N.J., was one of 15 people who died in a July 30, 1997, Hamas terror bombing of a Jerusalem market.

    Gregg Salzman, 32, who survived the Sept. 4, 1997, Hamas suicide bombing on Ben Yehuda St. in Jerusalem, said Israel must take tough stances against violence.

    "I do feel strongly that demonstrating weakness, giving over lands, giving the Palestinians what they want, will be the downfall of Israel," said Salzman, a chiropractor from East Brunswick, N.J., remembering his own injuries and the shock of seeing three teenage girls die before his eyes in the bombing.

    Avi Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and national president of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, said spiritual leaders were meeting across New York State to discuss security.

    "Everyone should be taking precautions, but life should go on, and people should do the things they normally do, and lead our normal lives," Weiss said. "The real goal of terrorism is to inspire fear - if they do that, they win and we lose."

    That was the sentiment of Mayor Bloomberg, who rides the subway to work most days.

    "I am concerned about every terrorist group," Bloomberg told reporters at a school on the lower East Side.

    "We have to make sure that we don't go back into our houses and apartments and lock the door and not go out - and let the terrorists win that way."

    Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

  5. #5


    New York Newsday
    April 2, 2004

    Cops drill to prep for terror


    Police officers from across the city played out terrorist scenarios yesterday, from a gas attack in a hotel room to an explosion in a subway in preparation for the Republican National Convention in August.

    The two-day drill, called COBRA training, is part of a goal of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to train 10,000 members of the department in terrorist preparedness for the upcoming convention.

    "I think at some point the command structure of the country will be here," Kelly said, standing in a mock-up of a mobile decontamination center. "It's our job to be concerned about it. But I think we'll be very well prepared to handle any contingency."

    To further ensure the safety of conventiongoers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that the city would probably shut down Penn Station only during Bush's apperances.

    For the terrorist preparedness training, as many as 150 officers take a day of classes, where they learn about the effects different biological, chemical and nuclear attacks have on the human body.

    On the second day, they go through a series of simulations that include a decontamination drill. Then they go outside to a parking lot of the Transit Training Learning Center in Coney Island. Police officers dressed in cotton Tyveck suits — sealed shut at the cuffs and collars with masking tape — and wearing gas masks are instructed on how to work as teams when responding to unexpected events in the wake of an attack.

    The officers were told that an explosion had occurred on the subway and that they needed to look for survivors and secondary devices.

    Inside a subway car sitting on a replica of tracks were two police officers acting like panicked victims, grabbing at the officers and shrieking in pain. The victims are fitted with color-coded tags indicating their level of injury for triage. Next, they go to a trailer fitted with a fog machine called the "smoke house" looking for a colleague.

    The program is effective, Kelly said, because it allows officers who normally work together to train together. The instructors, most of whom received intensive training at an Office of Homeland Security facility in Anniston, Ala., said it works because it replicates the conditions of an attack.

    "You're killing my realism here," said a sergeant and instructor, as a television reporter let fog escape from the trailer. "It's about the realism! All about the realism!"

    Staff writer Glenn Thrush contributed to this story.

    Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

  6. #6


    New York Daily News
    April 7, 2004

    Terror training off track


    Transit workers complain they're being left out of NYPD anti-terror training exercises - potentially putting riders in greater danger if there's an attack.

    Concerns over the Madrid train bombings and a federal warning that New York buses and subways could be targeted prompted union leaders to demand a role in the training sessions.

    "We are concerned that training on a possible attack on a subway car could be planned and executed without the transit workers who will be on site were the attack to take place," Transit union boss Roger Toussaint wrote Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and other officials.

    In the letter, obtained by the Daily News, Toussaint said transit workers should be included in an ongoing attack-response program for police.

    The two-day sessions, part of preparations for this summer's GOP convention, include a simulated subway car explosion.

    Jimmy Willis, a vice president with the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said subway and bus workers desperately need more training.

    "We are not prepared as we should be," said Willis. "We have people who aren't being taught anything now.

    "If something happens in the system, it's the transit worker who is going to discover it first. We need to work with the Transit Authority to make the system as safe as it possibly can be."

    Willis said train operators are supposed to go through evacuations drills every three years, but that doesn't always happen.

    Conductors and station agents get the evacuation training when hired, but there are no refresher sessions, he said.

    Other employees - including track workers, signal maintainers and some station cleaners - don't get the training at all, he said.

    The union wants all workers who could be in a position to help in an emergency to participate in live drills at least once a year.

    He said the Transit Authority has been fortunate in the past. Workers safely evacuated hundreds of thousands of passengers from the system after the terror attacks, and even more during last summer's blackout.

    The letter also was sent to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow, whose spokesman said only, "Safety of our customers and our employees is a top priority."

    The NYPD declined comment.

    Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    The Catskills


    We should be grateful for such a complaint. There could be other issues brewing behind this, but the basic complaint is sound and logical as the first line of defensive action.

  8. #8


    New York Daily News
    April 8, 2004

    Transit to get terror training

    By Pete Donohue

    Transit workers will take part in anti-terror exercises, police said yesterday - a day after the Daily News detailed union gripes about being shut out of the training sessions.

    "There are multiagency training exercises planned that will include personnel from the Transit Authority," a police spokesman said yesterday.

    Transport Workers Union Local 100 officials fired off a letter to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Metropolitan Transportation Authority brass and others Monday, griping that they were not part of ongoing NYPD exercises.

    The training sessions are being done in advance of the GOP convention and include a mock subway car explosion.

    In a statement yesterday, the Transit Authority said: "Our employees are transit professionals, but they are not emergency first responders. ... They are trained to identify an incident, notify the command structure and initiate evacuation procedures."

    Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

  9. #9


    Gotham Gazette -

    May the Force Be With You

    by Raymond Kelly

    May 05, 2004

    Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly

    When an operative for al-Qaeda named Lyman Farris came to New York, his plan was to take down the Brooklyn Bridge and derail some railway cars. But he looked at the heightened security in the vicinity of the bridge, and changed his mind; the “weather was too hot” to complete the operation.

    This one incident was prevented, then, thanks to the counterterrorism policing work of the New York Police Department. Our successes in this area are usually a lot more difficult to measure.

    We are now, of course, in a new era. When I came back as police commissioner in New York, having served ten years ago under Mayor David Dinkins, the biggest change for the police in New York was obvious -- the threat of terrorism. It has had an impact on virtually every decision the department has made.

    But counterterrorism is just one of the "three C's" that the police department under the Bloomberg administration continues to focus on. We are also moving forward on crime reduction and community relations.


    Since 9/11, the police department has taken serious steps to defend our city against terrorism.

    We have put into place a counterterrorism bureau, really the first of its kind in the country, which now has 250 officers, and we have reformed our intelligence division.

    We have identified people with language skills in the department and certified them. We now have certified 45 Arabic speakers -- more, we believe, than any federal agency that we’re aware of. We have even made them available to federal agencies. In addition, we have Urdu, Pashto, and Hindi speakers.

    We have assigned detectives overseas – to Lyon, London, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Montreal, and Singapore. In March, we had someone in Madrid the day of the bombing on that city’s subway. Our world has gotten smaller, and we need information of any sort that’s going to help us better protect this city.

    With the advent of the Iraqi war we’ve put in place something called Operation Atlas, which is an overlay security program for sensitive locations throughout the city. We have kept that program in place. Today, we have critical response vehicles that come into Manhattan every day from other locations in the city.

    Average New Yorkers are also being more vigilant, and we ask people to continue to look at things through the prism of 9/11. Depending on what is in the news, our counterterrorism hotline averages from 30 to 60 calls a day. There are some very thoughtful calls, many about people taking pictures of infrastructure. We also get many bomb scares and powder droppers.

    We log those calls in – we have a database where we log those calls. If that location shows up again, then we’re able to match it with previous calls.

    There’s just a lot going on, and it’s an expensive undertaking. We believe it cost us close to $200 million for our counterterrorism programs in the city last year. We’re not getting enough money. In addition, a lot of this money is skewed towards equipment, and not structured for operational costs. We need money for operation expenses on an ongoing, day-to-day basis, not just for equipment.


    I believe that in certain areas, our counterterrorism tactics are benefiting our crime prevention efforts. On the subway, for instance, crime is the lowest it has been since it has been accurately recorded in the 1960s, which may be in part due to our aggressive counterterrorism efforts.

    In other areas, we are looking to combine some of the things we’ve done in counterterrorism with our crime prevention programs, by doing things like incorporating our Hercules program into Operation Impact.

    In Operation Impact, we took off across the city and identified locations, primarily based on shootings, that in our view would benefit from an infusion of uniformed police officers alongside officers from narcotics and from the warrant squad. We picked 21 such locations, and put two thirds of our police academy graduating classes from 2003 in these areas. As a result of that infusion of visible police officers crime went down 35 percent in those impact zones in 2003, with shootings down 50 percent. We are seeing the same numbers now in the Impact Zones for 2004.

    Now this may not sound revolutionary, but at a time when we have 5,000 fewer officers than we had in October of 2000, this is the type of technique that enables us to continue to reduce crime. Crime rates are now down over three and a half percent this year, after dropping six percent last year, and five percent the year before.

    To continue this trend, we’re establishing a crime information center, which will hopefully be functioning by the middle of this summer. We have already established a room at police headquarters; there will be screens that graphically depict crime and we ultimately intend to get that information on PDA’s, hand held devices. The intention is to gather information on a real time basis, digitally analyze it, and push it back out to the field as quickly as possible.

    We will use this as an adjunct to Compstat, which is a valuable auditing tool that looks retrospectively at what commands have done to address crime. The police foundation has been very helpful in assisting to put this capacity in place, and obviously the mayor is very interested and involved as well. So that’s the next wave of crime fighting: information.


    All members of the department are aware of the need to communicate with the public. Throughout their careers, we have them in service training. I think our community relations are better now than they’ve ever been.

    But every day is a new day in New York, and when we make a mistake in this business, it costs people’s lives.

    In the recent shooting of Timothy Stansbury in a Brooklyn housing project, the police department made a mistake, and we said so. It is the policy of this administration, if you make a mistake, to get the facts out as quickly as possible. That’s what we did in the Stansbury case, just as we did with terrible tragedy of Alberta Spruill, who died of a heart attack after several officers mistakenly raided her apartment. I think it cooled the environment.

    If you have the facts and they’re obvious, you should get them out, but that is unusual. The Stansbury shooting in Brooklyn was a very simple case: there were two officers together, and one officer observed what happened. There were witnesses in terms of the tangential events that were going on that indicated right away that this was a mistake, so it wasn’t complex. Other shootings are more complicated; it all depends on the circumstance.

    It is the nature of police work that we’re going to have tension with some communities because of what we do. We are sometimes the bearer of bad news. We give out traffic summonses, we arrest people, we use force, sometimes deadly force; it’s the nature of police business. People are not always going to love you in some places.

    We’re not firefighters – everybody loves a firefighter.

    So we have to work on community relations, and I think precinct commanders as a group do a tremendous job in fostering and understanding communications in the communities. We have 76 precincts, and the commanders of these precincts spend a large percentage of their time focused on fostering communication in their communities.

    They know they have to do that.


    Other than terrorism, the biggest change since I left the department is the size of the organization. There has been a merger of the housing police force, the transit police force, all the school safety agents, and transit enforcement agents. So the department increased significantly in size.

    We now have about 51,000 employees.

    Though the department has grown, the loss of officers to attrition is an ongoing issue in the police department. We have 5,000 fewer officers below our level in the fall of 2000, because of the budget situation that we find ourselves in. At this time, we have about 36,000 officers; we’re authorized to employ 37,000 officers. We’ll hire up to reach that number in July of that year.

    Much of the current loss has its roots as far back as the 1970s. In 1975 there were layoffs in the department because of the serious fiscal crises. The department didn’t start hiring in a significant way until the 1980s. Those people are reaching their twentieth year anniversary, when they can retire at half pay. When police officers hit their twentieth anniversary, about 80 percent retire. Sergeants retire at about a 65 percent rate. So we know that we have to do a big job in recruiting additional people to the department.

    Under Mayor Bloomberg, we’ve hired four large classes to address our attrition losses. We’re doing well with our recruiting, and our diversity is improving. The department is about 15 percent African American, about 20 percent Hispanic, and about 3 percent Asian. 16 percent of the department is female. We’re the city agency, I think, that best reflects the population of the city.

    Attrition remains an ongoing issue. From recruiting to vetting to training new officers, it is a challenge. I think we’re doing that well. But those three C’s are what this administration is all about.

    Raymond Kelly is the police commissioner of New York. This essay was adapted from comments he made at Baruch College.

  10. #10
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    Despite earned criticism in some other areas of their jobs, I have to say that I feel NYPD / FDNY are probably the best trained and best equipped civilian forces in the world to respond to any threat or incident. That's a place I'll give Giuliani his props. He was ahead of thec urve on it - although his placement of an emergency command center in Manhttan was just idiocy.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Default NYPD counterterrorism

    I am all too familiar with Commissioner Kelly's statment don't wait for the Feds to come. I also want to re-interate what another member posted "alot is goin on". Some of you may know me by the lights an cams I network n Times square an thru out the world. I make it look like fun but i am watching too. Kelly knew last year about this and makes a pretty clear path to reach him if something is of merit. I see your city from a mountan top in Tennessee. I wish Kelly would send some of the NYPD down here to Knoxville an teach them how to be a real police officer. I was former Coast Guard myself an had been to Gov. Island long ago an the city many times. I see the foot soilder's n Times square "uniform officer's", okay - frequently - and they never fell to impress me with thier proffessionalism. I love New York and the people and I intend to retire there believe it or not. I still paddle up-stream and i will be lookin out for ya my friends an many others who know we do it not for glory [never is an or recogination] but that is not why we do what we can. We can all make a diffirence and the little ones or innocents who cannot protect themselves. Those who do not do thier job should be removed period. I have given my time an exp. I hope it helps. God bless
    Johnny Hollywood n Knoxville 8) onamission for God and country.[/img]

  12. #12
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    New York City



    City Officials Call Terror Training Drill A Success

    MAY 16TH, 2004

    City officials say they're pleased with the results of a terror training drill held Sunday morning in Lower Manhattan.

    "Operation Transit Safe" simulated a scenario in which bombs went off in two subway cars with hundreds of people on board.

    About 1,000 first responders stormed the Bowling Green station on the 4 and 5 lines. The exercise was coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management, and included responders from the New York Police and Fire Departments, the MTA, and the FBI.

    The drill – part of the city's ongoing terror-response preparations in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – was scheduled for early in the morning in order to minimize subway disruptions.

    Officials say the response was quick and the drill was a success.

    "The objectives of each agency are elaborate," said OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno. "After this we'll all sit down next week and go over line by line what we learned."

    "You can't guarantee that something won't happen," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the drill. "What you see here today is another practice session to respond if something happens,"

    At one point during the simulation the drill was interrupted when a real-life suspicious package was discovered a few blocks away. Crews from the exercise were set to respond, but the package was properly identified within a few minutes.

  13. #13


    May 18, 2004

    Police Department Gives Officers a Guide for Detecting Terrorists


    The Police Department has issued a pocket-sized reference card for patrol officers detailing guidelines it says are designed to help them spot terrorists.

    The department tells its officers to watch out for people with drivers' licenses from more than one state, passports from more than one country, and identification papers with different names and people videotaping or photographing bridges, tunnels, utilities, landmarks and government facilities.

    The card, an insert to be carried in officers' memo books, was issued this week. It is described as a "general guide" and notes that the presence of one or more of these indicators does not necessarily mean that terrorist activity is planned. It tells officers to contact counterterrorism investigators for further assistance, and warns them to take care to avoid interfering with constitutionally protected speech and not to target people based on their race or religion.

    But one of the tips, headed "Possible Indicators of Terrorist Activity," has generated some concern because of fear it might invite civil liberties abuses.

    It advises officers to watch for anyone who is "overtly hostile" and expresses "hatred for America and advocates violence against America and/or Americans."

    Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the group is always concerned when law enforcement authorities use political statements as the basis for a criminal investigation. "The Police Department must be very careful that it does not confuse criticism for terrorist activity," Mr. Dunn said.

    Paul J. Browne, the department's deputy commissioner for public information, said the insert clearly states that the guidelines are "general'' and that the indicators "may'' merit further inquiry; both words are underlined on the card. "I think it adequately explained that this in no way is to be interpreted to interfere with free speech,'' he said.

    The guide was issued to officers, he said, because Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly "wants to get as much useful information and guidance to the patrol level as we develop it,'' adding that other counterterrorism information bulletins have already been issued.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  14. #14


    May 22, 2004

    Security Will Tighten in City, Police Commissioner Says


    Citing an elevated threat of terrorism that he called the "Madrid factor," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday that security would be stepped up in New York City, especially during the Republican National Convention.

    "There is a certain 'Madrid factor' with what happened in Madrid, so our plans have changed somewhat to increase the level of security," Mr. Kelly said in a taped interview to be broadcast Sunday on WNBC's "News Forum," with Gabe Pressman. "I think it is reasonable to say that terrorists would be, assume to be, emboldened by the events of Madrid. They impacted on a government, on an election." Terrorists bombed four trains in Madrid on March 11, killing 191 people and injuring 2,000 others.

    Mr. Kelly said there was no question that New York was a terrorist target. "There is a consensus in the intelligence community that New York is certainly close to the top, if not at the top, of the terrorist target list," he said. Asked about the likelihood of an attack, he said: "I wouldn't use the term likely, and I wouldn't say it is inevitable."

    The convention, to be held at Madison Square Garden Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, has raised the stakes, Mr. Kelly said. "We have this threat, this overarching terrorist threat, that we face every day in this city," he said. "Now we have added to that the convention. We have the incumbent administration to town, with all its leaders."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  15. #15


    May 24, 2004

    In Age of Terror, Police Leader Gains in Access and Influence


    Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in his office: "The Police Department, practically alone, is defending New York's people."

    Last Tuesday, after the city's former police and fire commissioners endured hours of withering criticism from the commission charged with investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, the current police commissioner presented his views on how the city deals with current threats.

    "The Police Department," said the commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, "practically alone, is defending New York's people, its corporate assets and its infrastructure from another terrorist attack."

    At a time when New York finds itself on the front lines in the worldwide battle with terror, its police commissioner is emerging as the city's top general, a city official with unparalleled influence in the Bloomberg administration. Perhaps the most powerful police commissioner in a generation, he wields enormous clout in City Hall as he strives to oversee the city's response to the terror threat and the safety of its streets, say former city officials and senior aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

    He exercises that power in ways both large and small. Unlike nearly every other city commissioner, Mr. Kelly literally answers to no one but Mr. Bloomberg. He refuses to take even mundane requests from senior mayoral aides, several officials said, and is equally insistent on imparting information to the mayor directly.

    Whether or not Mr. Kelly is single-handedly keeping another terrorist attack at bay is open to debate. But his advice to the mayor, unlike that of other commissioners, is almost always accepted without qualification, these aides say.

    Earlier this month, Mr. Kelly, in what some other senior city officials have called an unvarnished power grab, secured police control in the event of various types of major disasters, edging out the Fire Department in responding to chemical, biological or radiological incidents, long viewed as the Fire Department's province because of its expertise.

    The police commissioner is also widely seen as the architect of Mr. Bloomberg's recently announced plan to dismantle many of the core functions of the Office of Emergency Management, which many experts believe should be the lead agency in catastrophic incidents involving public safety and health.

    Mr. Kelly's power and influence have grown in large measure out of the post-9/11 age, which has forced the police to take on broad new antiterrorism responsibilities. However, Mr. Kelly has also driven crime down to new lows with some very aggressive measures while largely maintaining his popularity among minority residents, a rare combination that eluded his predecessors under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. A Quinnipiac University poll from March of this year gave Mr. Kelly a favorable rating from 61 percent of black respondents, numbers far higher than Mr. Bloomberg's own.

    The latitude given the commissioner also partly reflects the mayor's management style. Unlike Mr. Giuliani, who seemed to seethe when his police commissioner eclipsed him in popularity or outperformed him on the public stage, Mr. Bloomberg appears to have little burning desire to outshine Mr. Kelly.

    "The mayor gives the power and the mayor limits the power," former Mayor Edward I. Koch said.

    But for all his successes, Mr. Kelly has also managed to incur the kind of wrath that every favored child attracts — from his colleagues in government, who view his elbows as too sharp; his subordinates, who complain of his imperiousness and closed inner circle; and the police union and many among the department's rank and file, who have raged when Mr. Kelly has been unwilling to defend officers and were particularly angry after he apologized to the family of a young black man killed by an officer earlier this year and said the shooting appeared unjustified.

    "He is a tough guy," said one senior administration official who has been run over by the commissioner on more than one occasion, and who did not want to be named so as to avoid its happening again. "None of us are going to take him on."

    Police commissioners generally play among the most important and visible roles in any administration. The city's crime rate is arguably the single most important factor in a mayor's popularity, and it helped determine the outcome of the 1993 and 1997 mayoral elections. Moreover, the police commissioner, who is in charge of the mayor's personal security and tends to accompany him on some of his most difficult duties, like responding to the death of a police officer, tends to form a personal bond with his boss.

    The bond between mayor and police commissioner has only intensified under Mr. Bloomberg. Mr. Kelly, who served as police commissioner in 1992 and 1993 under Mayor David N. Dinkins, said he then reported to a deputy mayor; now, he meets weekly with Mr. Bloomberg and speaks to him at least once every day.

    The particularly close relationship is based both on their history and on the job he has done, several mayoral aides have said. Mr. Kelly, 62, first met Mr. Bloomberg, also 62, nearly a decade before he was appointed, and helped Mr. Bloomberg, a businessman with no public safety experience, with his mayoral campaign.

    "He has cut crime with a smaller budget and fewer cops while also trying to deter terrorist attacks," said Edward Skyler, the mayor's press secretary. "He's had to redefine his and the department's job. No one can accomplish those types of things without ruffling a few feathers."

    Mr. Kelly's résumé, as even some of his critics concede, is among the most impressive in the administration. He has held every rank in the Police Department in a 31-year career, serving in 25 different commands, and also has served in the federal government as an under secretary of the treasury and as a Customs commissioner, before becoming the senior managing director for global security at Bear, Stearns & Company.

    For all his job qualifications, he is also one of the most politically astute members of the Bloomberg administration.

    One day, when Mr. Bloomberg arrived late for his weekly live radio show, he joked that the Police Department or the city's Transportation Department would be held accountable. Mr. Kelly, who called in to the show later, offered his own jest, that the delay was surely the fault of the Transportation Department, which got tongues wagging around City Hall.

    Further, when Mr. Bloomberg recently pressed the commissioner on the department's huge overtime bill, Mr. Kelly quickly complained that an agency in the mayor's office, the Community Assistance Unit, was holding too many neighborhood events and taking up police time, said two aides who were privy to the conversation. Others complain that Mr. Kelly's insistence on overseeing small matters and his refusal to deal with anyone other than Mr. Bloomberg slows down some interagency initiatives.

    In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Kelly professed to be unaware of the simmering resentments and suggested that perhaps his pressing needs caused budget pain for other commissioners. "The only thing I would say is that I have to live in the present in this job, in the environment that we find ourselves in," he said. "And there are perhaps other officials with different things on their agenda."

    But even within the world of public safety, there are complaints that the commissioner has grown too powerful. Some have pointed to the declining status of the Office of Emergency Management, which under Mr. Giuliani was charged with overseeing the city's response to disasters. That authority was a check on the power of the Police Department, which, in the words of one former department official, "tends to arrogate power to itself."

    Several current and former city officials see Mr. Kelly's influence in Mr. Bloomberg's decision to transform the emergency management office into something of a think tank rather than an operational agency.

    "O.E.M.'s job has been totally marginalized," said one former city official who is familiar with the deliberations over the agency's role. "I think it's really a matter of having control," the former official said, referring to Mr. Kelly, "and I think maybe he sees it as a territorial issue, as having ultimate control over these scenes."

    Mr. Kelly also lobbied the mayor for months to get money originally earmarked for the agency's new command center. When the center was left with just $35 million of the $110 million that was originally allocated, much of the remaining money went to the Police Department.

    It was also Mr. Kelly's influence, many believe, that delayed the agreement on what are known as incident command protocols, announced on May 14 to a torrent of criticism. The central goal of that agreement is to assure interagency communication and coordination during catastrophic events.

    The new protocols have been criticized by several emergency management experts, officials in the Fire Department and the fire union, and last week by the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks. The protocols are widely viewed as giving broad authority to the Police Department at the expense of the Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management.

    John F. Lehman, a member of the 9/11 commission, said the new agreement "simply puts in concrete a clearly dysfunctional system."

    Particularly troublesome to Fire Department officials was the decision to place the Police Department largely in charge at incidents involving chemical, biological and radiological materials, because they feel their department has the most training in those areas.

    Mr. Kelly bristled at the notion that he was the force behind the new protocols. "The mayor spoke to all relevant parties and he made the determination," Mr. Kelly said. "I think it's a common-sense document, and it's going to work."

    Mr. Kelly, who has a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, a former New York police commissioner, hanging on the wall of his expansive office in Lower Manhattan, is known for his businesslike, almost military demeanor. He dresses in hand-tailored three-button suits and may be the only person in city government to wear a white pocket handkerchief.

    The police commissioner, like the mayor, appears to care about his legacy. "I wouldn't want to be sitting on the sidelines in this time in history," said Mr. Kelly, who watched the World Trade Center smolder from his home in Battery Park City. "I think I have something to contribute. I would feel frustrated if I wasn't in the game."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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