Exclusive look into NYPD's new technology, safety precautions for 4th of July celebrations

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Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Exclusive: NYPD's new safety technology, preparedness for 4th of July
Josh Einiger gets an exclusive look at the new technology used by NYPD Counterterrorism Maritime Unit for 4th of July.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The NYPD's Counterterrorism Maritime Unit is preparing the Hudson River for the nation's biggest 4th of July celebration.

The NYPD said there are no specific or known threats to New York City or the Macy's Fireworks on Thursday, but said it is important to be on high alert for large events that could be a target for terrorism or lone-wolf attacks.

This year police are turning to new technology and taking advantage of drones and the water to keep everyone safe.

Lieutenant Patrick Golden with NYPD's Counterterrorism Maritime Unit exclusively showed Eyewitness News the technology used to keep the area safe on the busy holiday.

Lt. Golden introduced the newest Counterterrorism boat that goes more than 60 mph, is equipped with radiation detectors to sniff out a bomb, and can get an alert twice as quickly as it could in any other boat.

The boats are equipped with high-tech equipment to spot explosives secreted on a pier or the bow of a ship. The boats are also helpful to respond to an alert as quickly as possible.

At police headquarters, cops brought together dozens of partner agencies to discuss safety.

The importance of their work was highlighted by an FBI bulletin released on Tuesday that called the Macy's fireworks an 'attractive target' amid the two wars and increased terror threats around the globe.

"There's really nothing we can't accomplish and so when we plan for events such as this, we plan for the unknown," said Michael Kemper, acting NYPD Chief of Department.

The NYPD said it is ready as a city forever in the shadow of 9/11.

"I mean I think the threat environment right now globally is about as complex as I can remember it being, certainly in the last two decades and that's not our assessment that's the assessment of all our partners...So all of these scenarios, which might have seemed fanciful, we have to absolutely be prepared for."NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner said.

One of those fanciful scenarios that the FBI is warning about is the use of drones to attack large groups that are watching fireworks in NYC or across the country.

In their preparations, the NYPD has a plan to prevent that scenario from happening.

The stakes are high in New York Harbor on any day but Thursday, with millions of spectators and hundreds of millions around the world watching, it's an especially high-pressure day for the NYPD.

They have all this technology to detect all manner of nefarious items. But there's a renewed focus this year on drones.

The threat of "attack drones" specifically highlighting unmanned aircraft systems to drop an explosive on crowds is front and center in the terrorism bulletin released by the FBI.

Throughout the city, police have installed drone detectors that can spot an unauthorized device and even take control over it.

The NYPD will have drones launched during the event to keep watch over the waterfront areas.

"While people are watching the show, NYPD officers are watching for an anomaly. They're not watching the show they're going to be watching you to make sure that you are safe. That New Yorkers are safe," NYPD Department Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry said.

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