The New York City police department has both equipment and trained personnel to shoot down a plane over New York in case of another terrorist plane threat.
The revelation came in Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview between CBS News' Scott Pelley and police commissioner Ray Kelly. Kelly took Pelley on a tour of the city's counter terrorism center, considered the most sophisticated police-run operation in the nation. In one cavernous room, are representatives from the military, the FBI, Federal Emergency Management, state and local first responders. The center is a symbol of the 10 years and three billion dollars that he has spent to prepare for every kind of threat.
In the following exchange, Pelley asked Kelly about the city's ability to protect itself from airborne threats like the two hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center buildings on Sept. 11, 2001.
Pelley: Are you satisfied that you've dealt with threats from aircraft, even light planes, model planes, that kind of thing?
Kelly: Well, it's something that's on our radar screen. I mean in an extreme situation, you would have some means to take down a plane.
Pelley: Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?
Kelly: Yes, I prefer not to get into the details but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation.
Pelley: You have the equipment and the training.
After the show aired, sources told the New York Post that the weapon that Kelly was referring to involves a Barret .50 caliber rifle, which can be mounted on almost any police chopper. The weapon, according to the Post sources, is stored in an NYPD safe and is deployed only for "special occasions," such as when the president is in town, the sources added. The gun is available only to the military and law-enforcement agencies.