Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Senator Chuck Schumer called on the National Parks Service this morning to create a security station at Battery Park to screen visitors before they board a ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
The NYPD has previous publicly disagreed with the Park Service's decision not to have screening prior to passengers' initial boarding of the ferry at Battery Park, and their assertion that having only a screening at the intermediary ferry station at Ellis Island is adequate.
Earlier this month Kelly wrote a letter to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, urging screening of ferry boat passengers at Battery Park be maintained. Security screenings at this locationstarted shortly after the September 11th attacks, Kelly noted.
"Al Qaeda and those who shares its violent jihadist ideology... have long shown an interest in targets that represent our country," Kelly said.
According to Kelly's letter, representatives of the mayor's office and the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau have already had unsuccessful meetings with senior Department of the Interior officials and the National Park Service.
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Kelly insisted that an appropriately sized and staffed screening area would prevent crowding and not interfere with the streamlining of ticket sales. He suggested screening could be funded by a "nominal" increase in the price of the ticket.
Aside from concerns stemming from the threat of terrorism, Kelly also pointed to "serious security issues arising from the lengthy delays and extreme overcrowding that too often occur."
This morning at Battery Park, Kelly and Schumer reiterated Kelly's proposal for funding, and again condemned the decision to move security screening to Ellis Island.
"I know the NPS cares deeply about the monument and its visitors," Schumer said, "but in this care I think they've made a mistake and should rethink this policy change."
The statue is slated to be reopened on July 4.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat