More Anxiety: Tighter Security Ahead: Governor

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WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Press Office. September 21, 2014:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo  met Friday with Legislative Leaders to announce a coordinated increase in security and law enforcement personnel at mass transit sites in the New York City region. This announcement is being made out of an abundance of caution, given the undeniable increase of terrorist activity abroad. The precautionary surge is also based on the fact that New York City continues to be a high-profile terrorist target as one of the world’s top destinations for travelers, as well as the premier hub for business and commerce in the region.

As part of this effort, Governor Cuomo is directing the heads of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the New York State Police, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to increase security at mass transit sites like LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and stations along the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road.

“When it comes to public safety, our responsibility in government is to be ready, be prepared, and anticipate the worst – and that is exactly what we are doing today,” Governor Cuomo said. “While we have not received any credible threats, New York City is an international symbol of tolerance and resilience, and therefore continues to be a top target for terrorists. With that in mind and in light increasing terrorist activity overseas, we are increasing security measures across the board at mass transit sites in the region. New Yorkers should rest assured knowing that public safety is our highest priority, and we will do whatever we need to do in order to keep our communities safe.”

Effective earlier this week, the Port Authority redeployed PAPD and K-9 resources at its facilities including increasing bag checks and on and off train checks throughout the PATH system. The Authority has also increased PAPD presence at JFK and LaGuardia Airports including close coordination with El Al at JFK, and has increased PAPD coverage at the agency’s bridges and tunnels, World Trade Center site, Port Authority Bus Terminal and ports.

The MTA is also operating under a heightened level of awareness, by both redeploying existing resources and adding additional overtime coverage, with the primary focus including Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal. This includes an increase in MTA police presence both on trains and in stations, alongside increased bag checks and K-9 patrols.

The New York National Guard will increase the number of Soldiers and Airmen assigned to Joint Task Force Empire Shield, the National Guard security force which operates in New York City. The task force members work daily with the MTA Police Department, Port Authority Police Department, Amtrak Police and New York City Police Department to provide security at New York City transportation hubs. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen on duty in these transportation hubs provide federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with additional eyes on the ground.

Today’s announcement comes as the New York Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the New York State Police are leading an internal review of current safety and security procedures. This review is part of a joint effort with New Jersey and federal officials to increase cooperation and preparedness in the face of heightened terrorist activity and increasing tensions between the United States and international terrorist networks. 

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