NYPD can take down planes, police commissioner says

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says his department  could "take down" a threatening airplane.

Story highlights

  • Bloomberg says NYPD "has a lot of capabilities that you don't know about "
  • Kelly: "In an extreme situation, we would have some means to take down a plane"
  • There was no comment on the technology that would be used in such a situation
  • More than $3 billion has been spent on New York City counterterrorism measures
The New York Police Department has the capability to "take down" threatening airplanes, Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in an interview broadcast on CBS's "60 Minutes" Sunday night.
Asked by interviewer Scott Pelley whether he is satisfied with the handling of potential aerial threats, Kelly responded, "It's something that's on our radar screen. In an extreme situation, we would have some means to take down a plane."
"Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?" Pelley asked.
"Yes," Kelly answered. "I prefer not to get into the details, but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation."
"You have the equipment and the training?"
"Yes."
There was no comment on the technology that would be used in such a situation.
The interview highlighted several other security measures undertaken by the police department's Counterterrorism Bureau, including random subway searches, officers carrying nuclear radiation detectors on their gun belts, and thousands of "smart" cameras in downtown Manhattan.
Kelly created the Counterterrorism Bureau in early 2002 in response to the September 11th attacks that occurred 10 years ago last month. Since the attacks, more than $3 billion has been spent on New York City counterterrorism measures. Units within the bureau include the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, and the Terrorism Threat Analysis Group.
"We're the number one target in this country. That's the consensus in the intelligence community," Kelly said. "We're the communications capital. We're the financial capital. We're a city that's been attacked twice successfully, we've had 13 terrorist plots against us since September 11th. No other city has had that."
On Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented on the police department's counterterrorism efforts at an education conference in Manhattan.
"Our job is to make sure that we stay safe going forward and that we show that the terrorists didn't win and that New York City is back," he said. "The New York City Police Department has a lot of capabilities that you don't know about and you won't know about them."
Although he said that he "cannot guarantee that you are safe forever or perfectly safe," he added that "I can tell you in 10 years we seem to have stopped a number -- and who knows how many additional we don't know about -- attempts to have terrorism here."
He went on to reinforce his support for the police department and the spending involved in its operations: "We spend something like 8 1/2 billion dollars, including pension costs, on our police department and I think it is money well spent."
The specifics of the department's capabilities are not commonly discussed with the media. Kelly has said the department is taking every possible measure to keep New Yorkers safe.