NYPD ready for NYC marathon, Ray Kelly says

These dogs are capable of detecting the tiniest amounts of explosive materials, Kelly said. 43 of them will be out during the marathon on Sunday. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian
These dogs are capable of detecting the tiniest amounts of explosive materials, Kelly said. 43 of them will be out during the marathon on Sunday.
Credit: Danielle Tcholakian

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave a marathon security briefing Friday morning in the Joint Operations Center at police headquarters.

Flanked by New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg, Chief of Department Philip Banks, and Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism Richard Daddario, with rows of computers in front of them and panels of television screens overhead displaying various bridges, streets and sections of Central Park, Kelly outlined the measures the police department is taking to keep the city safe after this year’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon.

“I think we can do it very well,” Kelly said.

He said he had been briefed by Boston police officials on lessons they learned, but declined to elaborate.

“I’d rather keep them to myself for now,” he said.

Kelly touted the importance of surveillance cameras in their deterrent efforts, noting that while the Boston Police Department were able to use surveillance footage to identify the attackers, they relied largely if not entirely on private sector cameras.

The NYPD, on the other hand, has a vast network of surveillance cameras of their own.

Close to all 26 miles of the New York City marathon course is under camera surveillance, between NYPD cameras and private sector cameras that the NYPD has gone around and accounted for.

The NYPD will be employing radiation detectors, helicopters, boats, and a “large uniformed presence,” Kelly said.

Ferries transporting runners to the start line at Staten Island will be accompanied by NYPD Harbor Unit boats. NYPD scuba divers are scanning around bridges and under the water’s surface for any threats today and tomorrow.

The commissioner also showed off the skills of one of the NYPD’s K-9 dogs with explosive detection capabilities. There will be 43 such dogs at the race, largely concentrated at the start and finish lines, and likely moving from start to finish as the race progresses.

He and Wittenberg encouraged people not to bring backpacks anywhere near the race. “Camel packs” — backpacks carrying water bottles — will not be allowed.

Kelly said there are so far no formal threats against the city related to the marathon.

Asked what his message to would-be terrorists is, Kelly responded: “Don’t do it.”

The NYPD is “well-equipped” and “well-deployed” to deter any event, he elaborated.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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