About 40 New York City Police Department officers joined members of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies from around New York and New Jersey for an anti-terrorism drill on the Hudson River Wednesday. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
A hot pursuit on the water. Officers racing to see if a boat near the Verrazano Bridge is carrying radioactive material. A possible terror threat.
Fortunately, it was only a drill.
"We understand (that) New York City is the target," said Sgt. Mark Teitler of the NYPD Counterterrorism Unit. "And we try to leverage all of our assets around us, whether it is New York, New Jersey or Connecticut and get everybody on the same sheet of music and make sure everybody is proficient in the use and the concept of operations."
Harbor units from various police departments joined the NYPD in the terrorism drill that's a part of the Securing the Cities initiative funded by homeland security. NY1 was given exclusive access to cover the drill.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the drill is important to help keep radiation detection equipment up to date.
"There is a different substance that is being used," he said. "I'm going to be a little cryptic here. The substance is a little different, maybe more difficult to be detected by our devices. We want to find out if this new substance is able to be detected with the equipment we have now."
Officers involved in this exercise don't know which one of these boats could be carrying something harmful. A couple of the vessels did set off detectors while NY1 was out there.
A group that was out fishing allowed the authorities to use them for the drill.
"I am enthusiastic about it and very glad that they do," said a boater. "If they don't do the training, they are not going to be able to do the real thing."
The United States Coast Guard plays a big role in protecting the waterways. The police commissioner said a lot of help is needed in keeping the city safe against would-be terrorists.
"We actually involve 150 agencies in our Securing the Cities initiative," he said. "We have memorandums of understandings with them. We are not in this alone. We have to cooperate and collaborate in protecting New York."
Authorities said they run the drills almost every week, just in case.