No American city has done more to defend itself against a terrorist attack than New York. Its police department, 37,000 strong and larger than the standing armies of 84 countries, has transformed itself from a traditional crime-fighting organization into one that places a strong emphasis on fighting terrorism. A thousand cops have been assigned to work exclusively on a new "terrorism beat." And, in an unprecedented move, New York has even stationed its own cops overseas.
These changes are all based on New York's belief that having suffered two devastating attacks while the federal government provided for its protection, the city had to take more responsibility for its own security — and that from now on, New York's first line of defense is not the military, the CIA or the FBI: It's the NYPD.
Correspondent Ed Bradley reports.
From the Statue of Liberty, to the Brooklyn Bridge, to Manhattan's grand canyons of office buildings, New York is widely believed to be the No. 1 target of international terrorists. It's the city they would love to attack again if they could, which is why, 4½ years after 9/11, New York remains on a high state of alert.
One common sight in the city's fight against terror is a counter-terrorism operation called "a surge." About 100 police cars from all over the city swarm into an area like Times Square. These happen unannounced all over the city.
It begins with an officer briefing, not only on their specific assignments, but on a subject you might not expect — terrorist developments thousands of miles away.
In charge of this operation for the "new" NYPD is Chief Vincent Giordano.
Asked how often police conduct this operation, Giordano says, "Every day. Seven days a week. 365!"
A "surge" is a simultaneous deployment of about 200 cops to potential terrorist targets — and a visible demonstration to terrorists and New Yorkers of the widespread changes the NYPD has implemented since 9/11. Giordano says these swarms of police officers go to locations all over the city.
"That's an impressive show of force," Bradley remarked.
"If you want to use the term shock and awe — when they go to a location, if somebody's watching the location and they're doing type of surveillance, they're not going to miss this type of deployment," Giordano said.
They also won't miss teams of heavily armed cops who show up unannounced at train stations, office buildings and other potential targets throughout the city.
"New York has done an enormous amount, and if there's anything else we could do, we haven't thought of it yet," says Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Mayor Bloomberg says the purpose of it all is to intimidate. "You'll see surges of police officers all of a sudden, heavily armed, that appear in one — in a quiet, nice neighborhood. And you say, 'What are they doing here?' And then they disappear. Every once in a while, you'll see this stream of police cars go zipping down the street, lights and sirens. And you say, 'What's happening? What's happening?' Nothing! I hope."
The man with responsibility for keeping it that way is Ray Kelly, New York's Police Commissioner.