Nassau County officials Wednesday assured the public that there will be a secure police presence at all T20 World Cup cricket matches at Eisenhower Park. NewsdayTV's Macy Egeland reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez, Howard Schnapp; File Footage

In what officials called the largest security operation in the county's history, Nassau police are adding 100 patrol officers to the streets during the upcoming men's T20 World Cup cricket tournament in Eisenhower Park, while continuing to monitor potential threats to the event.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder had said earlier Wednesday, in a letter to the community, that there was no credible threat to the 12-day tournament. But he nevertheless cautioned, in a news conference minutes later: “We are vetting and running all the leads on that. We're going to treat it the same as we treat any other threat: It will be a credible threat until it’s not.”

“When you’ve got a game and a crowd as big as this, everything is credible,” Ryder said, “There are no targets that are going to be left out there. We're going to cover all of our infrastructure with the extra resources that are outside that venue.”

Ryder called it “the largest security we've ever had to do in this county's history,” adding that it will be “the safest place to be in Nassau County.”

    WHAT TO KNOW

  • Nassau police will be adding 100 officers to the streets during the T20 World Cup cricket tournament that starts Saturday.
  • The security, called the largest such operation in the county's history, also includes the use of metal detectors, a ban on all but clear plastic bags, a no-fly zone for the area and partial closures for Eisenhower Park.
  • The heightened security comes amid reports of online terrorist threats to the tournament, which police say they have been monitoring along with federal authorities.

Ryder noted that police have been monitoring threats since April, including reports that surfaced in international media Tuesday of a threatening image, purportedly released by a group that supports the Islamic State terrorist group, making reference to “Nassau Stadium” and the date June 9. That is the date of the highly anticipated match between India and Pakistan.

Other threats being monitored, Ryder said, include a video calling for a “lone wolf” to attack the Nassau stadium during the tournament.

In a statement Wednesday, the FBI's New York City office said agents were “aware of threatening online posts concerning the T20 Cricket World Cup matches in Nassau County. While we have no information to indicate a specific threat to the event at this time, FBI New York takes all threats seriously.”

The additional 100 police officers will patrol Nassau County during the event, supplementing the regular 177 cars on patrol daily, said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman. He would not say how many officers will be in the stadium area during the tournament, but there will be increased security.

Eisenhower Park will be closed from about 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily starting Saturday and throughout the tournament. One golf course at the park will remain open with separate security, Blakeman said.

He said Nassau regularly monitors threats and is equipped to host the tournament with the 12th largest police department in the country.

“We are mindful of the fact that we have to guard the stadium. But we also have a tremendous responsibility that we have each and every day of making sure that all of our communities are safe,” Blakeman said. “And we will continue to do so on an elevated level during the tournament.” 

Everyone who enters the stadium must have tickets or credentials and must go through a metal detector. Searches will be conducted while entering the stadium and no bags will be allowed inside. Only clear plastic bags are allowed for medical reasons, Ryder said.

“There is a secondary fence line that goes around the stadium that also will be in a lockdown. Nobody will enter the stadium grounds unless they go through a magnetometer,” Ryder said.

Police have also requested a no-fly zone around Eisenhower Park during the tournament, which also prohibits any drones flying in the area. Nassau police helicopters will be surveying the area from morning until about 6 p.m., Ryder said.

Police will be monitoring traffic, as well as rooftops, to keep the area secure, Ryder said. He said security has also been added to the site during the construction of the stadium, including overnight, for the past two months to also protect the pitch and grass field. 

Nassau police are working with local, state and federal officials, including the Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the NYPD.

Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a statement Wednesday saying, “While there is no credible public safety threat at this time,” state police will boost security measures, including “an increased law enforcement presence, advanced surveillance, and thorough screening processes.”

The first Nassau cricket match Saturday is a warmup between India and Bangladesh. Nassau is scheduled to host eight cricket matches, starting Monday, as part of the World Cup tournament. The county erected a temporary 34,000-seat cricket stadium for the event.

After a separate threat against the tournament was reported in early May in the Trinidad and Tobago Sunday Express, Cricket West Indies and the International Cricket Council, the game's global governing body, released a joint statement, Reuters reported.

“We work closely with authorities in the host countries and cities, and continually monitor and evaluate the global landscape to ensure appropriate plans are in place to mitigate any risks identified to our event,” they said, according to Reuters. 

Other World Cup matches will be played in Dallas, Florida, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua, Tarouba, St. Vincent and St. Lucia during the month of June.

With Anthony M. DeStefano

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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