Despite the fact that there is no specific threat against this year’s Fourth of July celebration, the NYPD will have a “robust” counterterrorism operation in place for the holiday, officials said Friday.
Thousands of police, including 1,257 new recruits sworn in Friday at Madison Square Garden, will be on duty along with a new group of police dogs capable of tracking bombs while moving through a crowded street and the heavily armed critical response command.
At a special pre-holiday briefing for reporters, NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said last year there was a specific threat against the city celebration, but this year nothing is on the intelligence radar.
That hasn’t stopped the police from putting together a deep counterterrorism overlay to guarantee the safety of the more than 1 million people expected to line the East River for the iconic fireworks display.
“We are mindful about what we saw in Orlando, mindful what we have just seen in the airport in Turkey, before that in Brussels,” Miller told reporters. “So we are using the same overlay but with new [counterterrorism] tools.”
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said that eight special “vapor wake” dogs will be on duty to track any attempt to move explosives in crowded areas.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said cops would step up traffic checkpoints to catch and deter drunken drivers. Chief of Department James O’Neill said some 95 teams of cops composed of a sergeant and five officers would be on duty in the city to catch those driving while intoxicated.
O’Neill said the newly minted officers would be mostly doing traffic control duty in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Other specialized units will deploy radiation detectors, and police harbor and aviation units also will be active, he said.
“We are going to have one of the most well policed, best protected events anywhere in the nation,” O’Neill said.
“It will be robust,” Miller said.
Aside from the East River fireworks, there will be other pyrotechnics on Monday at Coney Island, after the Staten Island Yankees game, and at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, a display that could be visible from parts of Brooklyn, O’Neill said.