Police prepared to provide maximum protection at US Open finals from ground and air

FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- As the US Open enters its final weekend at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Eyewitness News is getting an inside look at what it takes to secure an event of that magnitude on the ground and from the air.

For the NYPD, spending two weeks on high alert at the tennis tournament comes down to the two most important days: the finals. With more than 750,000 people attending the matches, officers are armed and ready to provide maximum protection.

Among many of the high-tech security measures in place for the weekend, officers with the counterterrorism unit are equipped with radiation backpacks for enhanced detection.

"It's an international event so we have some very real concerns," Deputy Chief of Counterterrorism Joseph Gallucci said. "Any elements of a dirty bomb, certain types of explosive devices and precursors to bomb making and that sort of thing -- we cover it pretty well."

And high above the US Open venue, the Aviation Unit's helicopter is equipped with new radiation detection equipment for wide sweeps of the area.

"The unit acts as a force multiplier being able to cover a large area with just one helicopter," Lt. Richard Knoeller said. "We have a sensor mission package with mapping, electro-optical infrared cameras, we can scan several rooftops in minutes."

Aside from visible heavy weapons teams, vapor wake dogs work through large crowds of people to pick up on any possible bomb making components.

Vehicles are scanned at several checkpoints near the stadium with a low camera so authorities can check for explosives or anything suspicious.

"It scans the undercarriage and then a visual inspection of the inside of the car will also be done," Deputy Inspector James Sheerin said.

If any problems occur, an elite emergency services unit provides a rapid response to any situation utilizing a fully armored and fully equipped vehicle.

"If we need to get over wrought-iron fencing at the US Open, we can pull this right up to it and fast rope over the front of the fencing to get in," Lt. Tom Kehrli with the Emergency Services Unit said. "This offers us Level 4 ballistic protection."

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