Feds Restore'Dirty Bomb' Funds
Police sources last week said that thanks to $10 million in federal funding restored under the "Securing The Cities" initiative, the NYPD is developing plans to install a ring of sensors around the Big Apple to alert law enforcement to the presence of a nuclear or biological device.
The restored funding allows the NYPD to install radiation detectors in police vehicles and arm cops with the devices. The funds also enable the NYPD to work with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, to "form a ring around the city to protect its citizens".
Teams of Queens police and FBI agents participated in a mock drill early last month, which successfully demonstrated the need for the sensors, the sources said. Law enforcement officials were hoping the results of the drill would encourage restoration of the federal funds.
With red lights flashing, the Clearview Expressway came to a halt on the night of June 9, as an army of law enforcement agents converged in a mock drill to determine how police and FBI agents would respond to a weapon of mass destruction on the highway.
"It was a drill. It was just a drill," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. "But it's a drill that could save thousands of lives."
Seven hundred law enforcement officers participated in the drill, which began at 9 p.m. on June 9, when police closed off the Clearview at 73rd Avenue, near Exits 3 and 4 on the Long Island Expressway.
Shortly after NYPD officers set up a checkpoint on the Clearview, FBI agents arrived at the scene to help monitor hand held devices used by police that sense a nuclear device, police officials said.
A black SUV entered the checkpoint at about 11 p.m., setting off a signal alerting police that the vehicle was carrying a weapon of mass destruction. Four hundred FBI agents and 300 NYPD officers suddenly converged on the scene, working to set up a ring around the area to confine the device.
Moments later, a truck-mounted sensor located the bomb. Police and FBI agents quickly moved in and arrested the driver as agents prepared to disarm the device.
"In this day and age, we have to be concerned to not let our guard down," Kelly said. "With the NYPD and the FBI working together, we have the most robust defense system against nuclear and biological attack."
FBI Assistant Director Joe Demarest echoed Kelly and reassured the public that the drill was not designed as a response to a specific threat.
"The world in which we live does not allow us to let our guard down," Demarest said.
"Through real life drills like this one, we are able to hone our skills to intercept a bomb or other device."
Police officials at the scene gave a "thumbs-up" to cops and FBI agents who participated in the drill, describing it as "very successful".
Police officials said the federal government picked up the $40,000 in overtime tab for the drill.