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Inside Politics

Wary New York stands guard

Cost of convention security expected to be $76 million

By Bryan Long
CNN

THE MORNING GRIND
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CNN's Jeanne Meserve on New York police and convention protests.

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CONVENTION FACTS
Location: New York's Madison Square Garden, seats up to 19,763

Estimated attendees: 50,000

• Estimated budget: $91 million, according to NYC Host Committee 2004

• Delegates: 2,509 (2,344 alternates)

• Estimated volunteers: 15,000

• Hotel rooms used: 18,000+ in more than 40 hotels
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Acts of terror
America Votes 2004

(CNN) -- Anarchist, terrorist. Train, truck or bus. Whatever the threat, New York's finest say they are prepared.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly assures the world that his 37,000 uniformed officers are ready for any disruption or attack on the Republican National Convention.

"We have prepared our response to be one of flexibility, one of mobility, of being able to move quickly in small tactical groups but also to mass our resources if necessary," Kelly said.

The city has taken stringent precautions.

Mailboxes and most trash cans have been removed from businesses around Madison Square Garden, where the convention begins August 30. (Special report: America Votes 2004, the Republican convention)

Train schedules will be shifted for commuters in Penn Station, the busiest in the nation.

And 300 dogs will sniff every train car before it starts its trip and again before it enters the city in a hunt for hidden explosives.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said security for the convention will be extreme.

"We are deploying a full array of counterterrorism resources. We will spare no expense, and we will take no chances," Bloomberg said.

"We will be watching and protecting the city through never-ending vigilance."

The expense will be somewhere around $76 million. Most of that -- $50 million -- will be paid by the federal government. The rest will come from the city.

The Department of Homeland Security designated the Democrats' July convention and this week's Republican convention "national special security events."

That means the U.S. Secret Service will coordinate all federal assets and the New York Police Department will direct operational security.

Other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and state and local law enforcement authorities, are participating.

New Jersey Transit Police Chief Joseph Bober says his crews are contributing.

"All my officers are on seven-day call," Bober said.

"They're working 24 hours a day, seven days a week round the clock. I've cancelled all vacation and personal days."

Police Commissioner Kelly said his force doesn't know how many protesters will be in the city but expects around 250,000.

Dealing with the crowd alone requires planning and resources.

On top of that, Kelly said, intelligence reports indicate there could be between 1,000 and 1,500 people who "come here bent on causing a problem."

"We expect the vast majority of demonstrators who come to New York during the convention to be peaceful and law-abiding," he said.

"Those who break the law will be subject to arrest. But again, we expect that they will constitute a distinct minority and our officers have been trained to respond in a disciplined and effective say."

But the risk of large-scale terrorism is the primary concern, Kelly said. "We don't have a crystal ball but I think we're well prepared to respond to any eventuality."


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