By Brenda Flanagan
Perhaps Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it best: “There is no border between New York and New Jersey when it comes to public safety.”
With that, the two governors signed a memo of understanding, promising a big boost in police patrols and pledging an “unprecedented” level of cooperation in the face of heightened terrorist threats.
“Even without a specific threat being in place,” said Gov. Chris Christie. “This is something that is absolutely necessary for us to do in light of the new and increased tensions that we know are going on around the world. We have seen before you ignore these increased tensions at the peril of the people that you serve.”
“It’s almost as if the terrorist threat has metastasized. It’s grown, it’s larger in numbers,” Cuomo said. “And we are still one of the top targets.”
After several recent breaches of supposedly secure perimeters — like tourists climbing bridges to take photos and BASE jumpers leaping from the Freedom Tower — Christie and Cuomo created a
bi-state task force and ordered it to reassess vulnerable targets, particularly bridges, tunnels and mass transit — particularly trains. The result: a bi-state boost that will resemble the tight, heavily-armed security directly following 9/11.
“There’ll be more security checks, including additional bag checks, both on-train and off-train. Emergency service unit patrols will be visible with heavy weapons, also increased canine patrols. Vehicle checks will take place at various crossings, and they’ll certainly be visible during the morning and evening risk hours,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico.
“The State Police also will redeploy marine and aviation assets around bridges and our mass transit systems,” said New Jersey Homeland Security Christopher Rodriquez. “They will also bolster radiation, biological, explosives and behavioral detections on our mass transit systems.”
Expect more Port Authority police posted at airports, bridges, tunnels, bus terminals, PATH, World Trade Center and the ports. States will share intel and analysts and will participate in full-scale joint exercises. And they’ll split the costs.
“I’m feeling safer already! I believe everything should be addressed with an accurate response, OK? Accurate and timely response. You’re providing that. What’s wrong with that?” asked Emanuelle Ray.
“I drive through Times Square every day — twice a day — and I appreciate the heightened security, the police security on it,” said Frank Martineau.
The governors say the new security plan starts now. You may notice some delays as cops and K9s conduct searches. Most folks tell us they’re OK with that.