Law enforcement to beef up security over 9/11 anniversary weekend

NYPD officers armed with long guns, accompanied by K9 officers
Ben Brachfeld

Police are beefing up patrols around the city this weekend during the weekend of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as the city remains a high-level terrorism target, local, state, and federal officials said Friday.

“You’ll see more people,” said Governor Kathy Hochul at a press conference at NYPD headquarters, with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, former sanitation commissioner and mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia (now Hochul’s Director of State Operations), and others. “You’ll see individuals with long-arms, you’ll see them looking a little bit militarized. But the idea is to let anyone know that you mess with New York, there will be consequences.”

Ben Brachfeld

The NYPD, state police, federal law enforcement, and others have identified the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 as a “vulnerable weekend,” Hochul said, and briefed the mayor and governor together Friday morning at the Police Department’s Joint Operations Center.

De Blasio and Shea both said that there were, at the moment, “no specific and credible threats” to the city, but that New Yorkers should rest assured that law enforcement is on top of any potential hazard.

Ben Brachfeld

“I want to affirm at this hour, the most important thing I can say to all New Yorkers, there are no specific and credible threats directed against New York City at this time,” Hizzoner said. “The NYPD is watching not daily, not hourly, minute-by-minute, with extraordinary intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism capacity which we have built up in recent years. Because even though it’s 20 years later, we see threats all over this world directed at us. And we see challenges that are homegrown as well.”

The mayor said that law enforcement will be protecting not just Ground Zero on Saturday, but that “massive resources” will be deployed all across the city as a protective measure and deterrent.

Mayor de Blasio, Governor Hochul, and Police Commissioner Shea chat in the NYPD’s Joint Operations CenterBen Brachfeld

Shea did not provide specific deployment numbers but said the NYPD’s beefed-up presence would consist of “thousands of uniformed and civilian members,” officers armed with long guns instead of standard-issue NYPD handguns, and bomb squads and bomb-sniffing dogs.

“That should reassure people, not alarm people,” Shea said.

Nonetheless, the Police Commissioner said that New Yorkers and visitors should enjoy the weekend rather than cower in fear. He even went so far as to give his personal assurance of New Yorkers’ safety.

“I absolutely guarantee the safety of the city tomorrow,” Shea said. “Come out and enjoy New York, it’s the greatest city in the world.”

Hochul also took another not-so-subtle dig at her disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo at Friday’s press conference, saying that New Yorkers can expect a renewed era of collaboration and cooperation between city and state on issues of public safety and other areas.

Governor Hochul and Mayor de Blasio chat at a press conference at 1 Police PlazaBen Brachfeld

“We are ushering in a new era of collaboration,” the governor said. “And I believe that that is going to give our mutual constituents, the City of New York and throughout the State of New York, a sense of confidence that we will leave no stone unturned to protect the individuals we have pledged to represent.”

The city will see a large number of commemorations for the twentieth anniversary of September 11. Hochul, de Blasio, and President Joe Biden will attend a commemoration ceremony at Ground Zero Saturday morning. The famous “Tribute in Light” will illuminate the New York skyline in the evening. Various smaller ceremonies will take place throughout the city.