By Gabriela Resto-Montero
MANHATTAN — Hundreds of NYPD officers and patrol cars fanned out across the city Tuesday to practice the department's emergency response to a possible dirty bomb.
"While we are focused mainly on preventing terrorist attack before one can be mounted, we also must be prepared to interdict a nuclear radioactive device should one come our way," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
Over 80 police cruisers set out from a staging ground at First Avenue in front of the United Nations to make checkpoints at the Macombs Dam, 138th Street, 225th Street, 145th Street and Third Avenue bridges.
The exercise, which will run through Saturday, is part of the Securing the Cities program from the Department of Homeland Security and was done in coordination with 150 law enforcement agencies from the tri-state area.
"Because there are still people in this world intent on doing us harm, we are vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and also to keep training in case the unthinkable should happen," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement Tuesday.
Officials pointed out that the drill was not spurred by any specific threat and was designed to assess the department's ability to detect and intercept chemical weapons.