(CBS News) As New York City braces for Hurricane Irene, the New York City Police Department has set up operations in their emergency command center to deal with the evacuations, transit closures and emergency situations that could arise from the massive storm.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke with CBS News' John Miller from the operational "nerve center," on Monday morning. Kelly said the city is ready for the hurricane. "We've done everything we reasonably can do to prepare for the storms," he said, describing extended shifts, motor and non-motor boats positioned in various precincts, and special teams dispatched and standing by for rescue duty, if necessary.
Kelly called the possibility of"extended blackouts" a primary concern and said that "flooding can get into the generators, electrical equipment, and elevators" throughout the city. He added that while bridges and tunnels remained open Monday morning, the NYPD is "ready to react" to tunnel and subway system flooding if it occurs.
Kelly said it was difficult to say how many New York City residents have heeded evacuation orders, although he personally followed orders and evacuated his home. "It looks like people are complying," he said, "but it's difficult to get hard numbers on that."
Speaking to the capabilities of the emergency command center, Kelly said that while the technology it offers is impressive, it is most valuable for the level of "face-to-face coordination" it allows between the NYPD and representatives from state and federal agencies who are on hand in the center to support police efforts throughout the city.
According to Kelly, the city plans to utilize almost all of 35,000 uniformed NYPD officers to deal with the aftermath of the storm. "Ultimately, most of them will be involved in some way, shape, or form," he said.