By Christy Strawser
CBS Detroit Managing Editor
Metro Detroiters who head to New York City for getaways, Broadway shows and dim sum in Chinatown should keep something in mind.
You’re being watched.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly revealed startling new information during an interview that aired Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” where he said police officers have been trained to take down airplanes and outlined an extensive public surveillance network.
“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,” Kelly said.
When CBS News’ Scott Pelley asked, “Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?” Kelly responded with “Yes, I prefer not to get into the details, but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation.”
Kelly added that officers have both the equipment and training to take down a plane.
Kelly also revealed that New York City cops have radiation detectors on their gun belts to detect dirty bombs, and an ultra high-tech surveillance system is in place with more than 2,000 cameras. The cameras can zero in on something as relatively large as a single person — or as small as a package.
“Nobody has a system like this,” Jessica Tisch told Pelley. Tisch helps run the $150 million surveillance system , and she said a powerful computer uses artificial intelligence to actually “watch” the cameras. The computers know if a package has been left in one place too long, and workers in the top secret surveillance headquarters can dispatch officers to check it out.
Based on everything Kelly said, it appears New York City has more sophisticated anti-terrorism capability than the federal government. In fact, New York City has more officers than the FBI. Between civilian and uniformed persononel, the New York City Police Department employs 50,000 people, Kelly said. The FBI reportedly has 32,909 employees in 2011, up from 31,578 in 2010.
“I knew that we had to supplement, buttress our defenses of this city. We couldn’t rely on the federal government alone,” Kelly said. “I believed that we had to create our own counter-terrorism capacity, indeed our own counter-terrorism division. And, that plan was put into effect fairly rapidly. And the reason we were able to do that is this is a hierarchical organization.”
See the video from CBS News here: