Dirty bomb drill this week in NYC

April 5, 2011 9:36:11 AM PDT
The NYPD is preparing for the worst, a terror attack on a frightening scale.

Police and first responders are taking part in an extensive drill this week, guarding against a potential dirty bomb attack in New York City.

While there is no known threat, police want to be at the ready. "This is an actual exercise...radiological material is actually used," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Officers from each of the city's 76 precincts rallied after 8am at the UN. They were told there's a missing white box van out of Connecticut, possibly with stolen radiological material.

Each officer is carrying a radiation detection device. They are briefed by counterter-riorism, then head out to set up checkpoints at five bridges in the Bronx.

Those bridges are the Macombs Dam, Madison Avenue, 225th Street, 145th Street and the Third Avenue bridge.

Each passing car that drives by the patrol car formation, is checked for radiation. Commissioner Kelly says his officers are treating this like the real deal.

It will take millions of dollars, thousands of radiation-detection devices and some 150 law enforcement and other first-responder agencies. But when it's all said and done, the NYPD wants to be even more ready for one of the city's biggest nightmares - a so-called dirty nuclear bomb coming in by land or by sea.

This week's drills will be preparing for both, starting at the United Nations and then expanding into the Bronx, Long Island and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.

"This exercise is managed by a consultant," Kelly said. "The overtime, and it will involve overtime, is paid by a federal grant. So we're looking forward to seeing the results."

An increased police presence will be seen in the Bronx. The exercise runs through Saturday.