Republican National Convention:
------------------------------------------------------------------------Posted on Tue, Mar. 09, 2004
Kelly: GOP Security Could Cost $65M
NEW YORK - The police department's security costs at this summer's Republican National Convention could climb to $65 million, far higher than the city's previous estimate, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Tuesday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration had said the city would spend $22 million for police protection, plus $5 million for insurance and sanitation for the convention, to be held at Madison Square Garden from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.
The federal government has agreed to provide the city with $25 million for security costs.
But Kelly's estimate would mean city security expenses would outstrip even the $64 million the convention's organizer, the New York City Host Committee, raised privately to hold the convention. No host committee funds would be used for security.
"The police department expenses are, and again these are soft numbers, are like $60 million, $65 million, I think was the total expense," Kelly told reporters after testifying before a City Council committee.
Hours later, police spokesman Paul Browne said security costs would be about $47 million, still far more than previous estimates. Browne said Kelly had misspoken.
Kelly testified that the expenses include special training for some 6,000 officers, new surveillance cameras, 300 motorized scooters for officers and special portable barricades capable of stopping trucks that will ring the Garden.
"Overtime," Kelly said, "is going to be a significant amount for us."
The convention's total budget is $91 million, including all security costs, according to an agreement between the Republican National Committee and the host committee.
The $64 million raised by the host committee has been designated for costs such as a podium, an entrance carpet at the Garden, renting the space and transporting delegates.
Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler declined to comment.
Boston, host of the Democratic convention in July, has estimated security costs at $40 million. It also has been allotted $25 million by the federal government for security.
© 2004 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
Federal Police Force to Aid GOP Gathering
DESMOND BUTLER Associated Press Writer, 08.13.04, 11:11 AM ET
NEW YORK (AP) - In a secure corridor of a government building, officers of a little-known federal police force sit among blinking routers and servers, manipulating and monitoring cameras across the city.
They are officers of the Federal Protective Service, which secures more than 9,500 federal buildings nationwide and will play a key role in safeguarding New York and its federal buildings during the Republican National Convention.
During an Associated Press reporter's visit this week to its New York control room on the condition that the location not be disclosed, images from cameras flashed across about a dozen flat-panel televisions. The cameras were trained on key security sites in and around the city's federal buildings, capturing video of cars entering parking garages, visitors and employees coming in and out of entrances and pedestrian traffic around building plazas.
In the small, dimly lit control room, officers sitting in front of the screens demonstrated how cameras can zoom in and out to monitor hundreds of locations. The facility, operating 24 hours a day, can take video feeds from as many as 200 cameras and erases footage after 100 days.
``Essentially what we're looking at is one of the better (closed circuit TV) centers there is,'' said John Ulianko, regional director based in New York.
During the convention, the agency will add 200 uniformed officers trained in crowd control. Many of them, officials said, will be on the streets as cameras watch from above. Some will also be armed with non-lethal guns that can target individuals with plastic pellets filled with paint or tear gas, rather than firing on crowds.
``Our mission is protecting federal buildings,'' said Ulianko. ``The mission doesn't change because there's a big event, or because there are thousands of people on the streets.''
But civil liberties advocates have expressed concerns about the surveillance.
``We don't think there is inherently anything wrong with the ability of private individuals and the government to engage in these types of (surveillance) activities,'' said Udi Ofer, an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union. ``What we are concerned with is that there is practically no regulation of this activity whatsoever.''
Agency officials said they focus their efforts on building security. ``This is not an intelligence-gathering operation,'' said Ulianko.
Following the terrorist strikes on New York and Washington in 2001, protective service officials say they lost some communication capacity in New York. Because of that danger, the agency will move its primary command center during the convention to a mobile unit - essentially a truck that can take camera feeds and coordinate information. The service took the same steps during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
``With a mobile command center, terrorists cannot shut us down,'' said Ulianko.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
This is the central monitoring point for all of those cameras -- the Multi-Agency Communications Center known as "the MACC". Here representatives from every federal, state, and local agency involved will be posted 24 hours a day during the convention.
The center can access more than 200 street cameras which can monitor almost every bridge, tunnel, and street corner.Police say this is where decisions will be made on how to respond to a terrorist attack or an out of control protest.
Deputy Chief Harry Wedin, who helps run the operation, said it relies in part on a sophisticated video surveillance system hooked to more than 200 security cameras. The system allows officers to watch for possible criminal activity at major landmarks, tunnels and bridges, Times Square and other locations.
A computer allows them to split screens to show multiple angles of a busy street corner, or to zoom in close enough to see faces or suspicious packages. Some of the video comes from cameras mounted on police helicopters.
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