NYPD prepares largest security team in NYC marathon history
Bryan Llenas reports
A massive security is in place to protect the 51,000 runners and soft targets spread over five boroughs on Sunday for the New York City Marathon, less than a week after the city suffered the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11.
New York city mayor Bill de Blasio said the “special event” voltage is 26.2 miles “will be well protected,” just a few days after a truck attack killed eight people in lower Manhattan.
The security detail will be hundreds of extra uniformed patrol and plainclothes officers, roving teams of counter-terrorism commandos armed with heavy weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and snipers on the roof, ready to shoot if a threat arises.
Thousands of NYPD police will ensure a safe #TCSNYCmarathon today, but we need your eyes also. If you see something, say something. pic.twitter.com/t5xq6Cxacq
— NYPD Chief of Patrol (@NYPDChiefPatrol) November 5, 2017
The Police is also turning to a tactic it has used for the protection of the Trump Tower and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with 16-ton sanitation trucks filled with sand. The trucks, along with “blocker cars” posted on the major intersections to try and prevent someone from driving on the course.
Marathoners from around the world that are streaming into the city, in anticipation of the race expressed mixed feelings about running so soon after the massacre.
A New York City police department is near the finish line of the New York City Marathon in New York’s Central Park, Friday, Jan. 3, 2017.
“I can be really scared of when I am home and in front of the TV,” Annemerel de Jongh, 28, den Haag, the Netherlands, told the Associated Press as she picked up her bib number on a Manhattan convention center. “But if I am, I feel maybe a little invincible, like nothing can happen to me. I may be out of the way.”
The New York Police Department said that it was not information pointing to a credible threat against the race, and that they use more of the blocker vehicles for the marathon than they have ever used for any other event.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state of the police, the National Guard, the state Office of Emergency Management and other agencies will provide additional security and a doubling of the number of troopers placed in high-profile locations, including Kennedy and LaGuardia.
A group of runners from Argentina pose for photos with their country flag near the finish line of the New York City Marathon in New York’s Central Park, Friday, Jan. 3, 2017.
The attack Tuesday on a bike path miles of the marathon route, was a grim reminder of how the Islamic State terror group is using its propaganda to encourage radicalized “lone wolves” to cause damage with simple means, in an easily accessible settings.
The attack by an alleged ISIS supporter “seems to have followed almost exactly to a T, the instructions ISIS has in the social media channels,” said the NYPD’s top counterterrorism official, John Miller.
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An online Islamic State group magazine posted last year acclaimed by trucks to killing of innocent victims, saying: “Vehicles like knives, they are very easy to acquire.” It is also advised “identification of the route for obstacles, such as poles, signs, barriers, speed bumps, bus stops, dumpsters, etc. that is important for the pavement-mounted attacks.”
Researchers say there is evidence the suspect, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, was doing exploration for the control of a Home Depot rental truck by means of an unobstructed access to a bike path in lower Manhattan and mowing down cyclists and pedestrians. A police officer shot and injured Saipov before he was arrested and was charged with support of terrorism, and other federal counts.
A biker watches as the employees wearing a cross on a memorial for the victims of Tuesday’s truck attack on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in New York.
The shift of advanced large-scale attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, smaller on soft targets has forced law enforcement to become more adept in preventing and responding to terrorism, said Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham Law School Center on National Security.
“I don’t think people should be worried,” Greenberg said. “The police know what they are doing. Look at how few successful attacks there have been.”
Security modifications made by the organizers of the New York City Marathon after the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013 — such as the ban on backpacks and costumes — remain in place, said Chris Weiller, spokesman for New York Road Runners. Despite widespread news reports and photos of the trail of the bodies by the truck attack, the cancellation rate has remained about the same, ” he said.
Boston Marathon organizers, working with local, state, and federal law enforcement, also significantly improved safety along the trail after 2013 attack, including more officers deployed on the race day, a no-fly zone on the course and drones to help with surveillance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.