NYPD's 'Operation Sentinel' To Track EVERYTHING
Radiation Sensors, Surveillance Cameras Used To Screen & Follow Every Vehicle Entering Lower Manhattan
Plan Aims To Provide Security Blanket Against Terrorist Attack
NEW YORK (CBS) ― It's called "Operation Sentinel" and it proves just how far the NYPD will go to protect this city from terrorists. The plan involves some high-tech tracking that is coming under fire from some groups.
New York City is going to great lengths to make sure that bomb-toting terrorists can't reach us.
"New York City is something special," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. "It's not just a very big city in this world. It is, in many senses, the iconic city. It represents Western Democracy.
As part of the plan the NYPD is creating a huge buffer zone, working with cops in a 50-mile radius of the city. Officials in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Long Island are given radiation detectors to stop terrorists as far away from New York City as possible.
Police also plan to track every vehicle that enters Manhattan.
"We're going to be adding cameras as we go forward," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
That part of that plan calls for photographing and scanning license plates of cars and trucks at all bridges and tunnels. Even small ones like the Willis Avenue Bridge will also be used to detect radiation.
"I don't think it's hyperbole to call this Big Brotherish," said Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "The New York City Police Department is creating a huge computer database of the movement of everyone in a vehicle in Manhattan."
Civil libertarians take issue with one aspect of that plan – data on each vehicle entering Manhattan would be stored for at least one month. Bloomberg, however, defended the idea.
"It is always a balance between freedoms to come and go between civil liberties and security, and I think we pretty much have the balance pretty much right," Bloomberg said.
The reaction of New Yorkers CBS 2 HD spoke to were mixed.
"I guess I would feel safer in light of everything that happened," said Tavis Rivere of Ridgewood, N.J. "The city has been under a lot of, you know, pressures and stuff."
"It's a violation -- I mean it's ridiculous," said Sharday Hill of Teaneck, N.J. "I don't know want everybody or someone knowing where I'm at 24 hours a day."
The city also intends on putting Lower Manhattan in a so-called "ring of steel," with 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street. There will be 600 cops assigned to protect ground zero.
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