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Thursday, December 2, 2010

The new World Trade Center and its High-tech safety

With buildings now rapidly rising from the destruc tion at Ground Zero, a few critics are characterizing the New York City Police Department's plans to protect the World Trade Center site as Draconian. That's wrong, but a basic point is correct: The NYPD is determined to provide security at the World Trade Center commensurate with the terrorist threat.

I make no apologies for this; it is among my foremost missions as police commissioner.

The initial 2002 site-wide design work for World Trade Center redevelopment satisfied many different architectural and land-use criteria, but failed to take into consideration security countermeasures to address the ongoing terrorist threat. The WTC has been attacked twice before, once to its total devastation, and it remains a prime target of our enemies.

The NYPD therefore began a collaborative effort with the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties to ensure that the Freedom Tower, now called One World Trade Center, would be built to appropriate standards. The NYPD convened a world-class panel, including leading experts in terrorism, bomb-blast effects and structural engineering, to consult on the redesign of the building. This work culminated in the unveiling in June 2005 of the new Freedom Tower design -- which will produce the safest and most secure high-rise building in the world. 

We then turned our attention to the remaining buildings at the site. In lieu of redesigning Towers 2, 3 and 4 to the same standards as One WTC, the Port Authority in 2006 agreed to adopt a "campus security" approach significantly lowering engineering and construction costs for these buildings.

Over the last three years, the NYPD has worked closely with the PA to develop a security plan that balances the needs of security and accessibility. The PA and the NYPD memorialized our shared goals for security at the site when Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward and I signed the World Trade Center Strategic Security Plan in June 2010.


This plan establishes a coordinated approach to security in which the NYPD, the Port Authority PD and private-security personnel hired by WTC tenants treat the individual buildings and entities at the site as a whole for security purposes.

In fact, the Port Authority has agreed to integrate all of the security technologies deployed throughout the site (including more than 3,000 closed-circuit TV cameras) into the NYPD's state-of-the art Coordination Center, where they can be monitored 24/7 by police personnel.

Far from a Draconian, fortress-like approach, this security plan is a high-tech street-management system designed to expedite entry for vehicles transporting employees and visitors, ensure efficient truck deliveries and provide for unfettered pedestrian and bicycle access. (Continues here)

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