NYPD Sept. 3, 2004 Press Conference
 

PRESS RELEASE NO.
Friday, September 3, 2004

POST-RNC PRESS CONFERENCE - COMMISSIONER KELLY'S REMARKS

5 PENN PLAZA
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2004

MOST OF THE SECURITY ASPECTS OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION PLAYED OUT THE WAY WE ANTICIPATED. AS WE SAID FOR WEEKS IN ADVANCE OF THE RNC, THE VAST MAJORITY OF PROTESTERS WERE PEACEFUL AND LAWFUL, WHILE A DISTINCT MINORITY ENGAGED IN DISRUPTION AND UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY.

WE TOOK THE ORGANIZERS AT THEIR WORD THAT THEY WOULD ATTRACT AT LEAST 250,000 FOR SUNDAYíS LARGE MARCH. AND WHEN PRESSED, WE  ESTIMATED THAT THE DISRUPTIVE ELEMENTS OVER THE COURSE OF CONVENTION WEEK WOULD NUMBER IN THE HUNDREDS OR PERHAPS AS MANY AS 1,500. AND THATíS PRETTY MUCH HOW THINGS MATERIALIZED.

ARRESTS FOR CONVENTION-RELATED INCIDENTS TOTALED 1,827.  APPROXIMATELY 65% OF THOSE ARRESTED WERE NOT RESIDENTS OF NEW YORK STATE, THEREBY MAKING THEM INELIGIBLE FOR DESK APPEARANCE  TICKETS.

CONTRARY TO THE ASSERTIONS OF PROTESTERS WHO WERE INCONVENIENCED BY THESE ARRESTS, THE POST-ARREST SCREENING SITE AT PIER 57 WAS CLEAN, WELL-EQUIPPED AND CERTAINLY HUMANE. SOME OF OUR CRITICS CIRCULATED OUTRIGHT FALSEHOODS ABOUT THIS FACILITY. AND WENT AS FAR AS COMMITTING FORGERY IN THEIR EFFORTS TO DISCREDIT THE POLICE.

WE ALSO SAID THAT WE EXPECTED OUR POLICE OFFICERS TO PERFORM WITH RESTRAINT AND PROFESSIONALISM. THATíS EASY TO SAY, BUT SOMETIMES HARDER TO ACHIEVE IN THE FACE OF PROVOCATION AND LONG HOURS ON DUTY.

BUT HERE AGAIN, OUR EXPECTATIONS WERE MET AND EXCEEDED BY THE EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH PERFORMANCE OF OUR MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT. EVEN IN THE FACE OF A BRUTAL ASSAULT ON ONE OF OUR DETECTIVES, THE OFFICERS WHO CAME TO HIS AID MAINTAINED THEIR PROFESSIONALISM AT ALL TIMES.

ONCE AGAIN, I WANT TO CONGRATULATE ALL OF THEM FOR SUCH FINE PERFORMANCE. NOT JUST THOSE ASSIGNED TO THE CONVENTION, BUT THOSE ON DUTY THROUGHOUT THE LAST WEEK IN EVERY BOROUGH. BY MOVING TO TWELVE HOUR TOURS, WE WERE ABLE TO MAINTAIN AND EVEN EXCEED NORMAL POLICE COVERAGE IN ALL BOROUGHS, WHILE DEVOTING UP TO 12,000 OFFICERS TO CONVENTION-RELATED DUTIES. SERIOUS CRIME FOR THE WEEK, SUCH AS SHOOTINGS AND HOMICIDES, DECLINED CITYWIDE.

FRUSTRATED BY THE OVERWHELMINGLY PEACEFUL AND SUCCESSFUL MARCH ORGANIZED BY UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE ON SUNDAY, THEIR CRITICS IN THE SO-CALLED ďA-31 COALITIONĒ WERE THWARTED AT EVERY TURN IN THEIR PLANS TO DISRUPT THE CITY. THESE INCLUDED UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORTS TO CLOSE DOWN THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT, CAUSE WIDESPREAD TRAFFIC DISRUPTION AT HERALD SQUARE AND OTHER LOCATIONS, CRASH PARTIES AND OTHER VENUES ORGANIZED FOR DELEGATES, STAGE SIT-INS IN THE LOBBIES OF DELEGATE HOTELS, PREVENT DELEGATES FROM REACHING MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, AND INTERFERE WITH THE CONDUCT OF THE CONVENTION ITSELF.

INSTEAD THE POLICE DEPARTMENT HELPED TO ENSURE THAT PARTICIPANTS IN THE CONVENTION ATTENDED TO THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES AND WENT TO AND FROM THEIR DESTINATIONS SAFELY. WE COVERED HUNDREDS OF RNC-RELATED ACTIVITIES THAT CONCLUDED UNEVENTFULLY.

UNSEEN BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN DURING THE COURSE OF THE WEEK WERE OUR ONGOING AND INTENSE EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE CONVENTION AND THE CITY AT LARGE AGAINST ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK.

ONE OF THE OBVIOUS MANIFESTATIONS OF THIS WAS THE OPERATION OF THE SALLY PORTS SURROUNDING THE GARDEN. WE INSTALLED THEM TO DEFEAT ANY ATTEMPT TO ATTACH AN EXPLOSIVE DEVICE TO VEHICLES AS THEY APPROACHED THE CONVENTION SITE. HERE AGAIN OUR POLICE OFFICERS AS WELL AS OUR NEW EQUIPMENT WORKED FLAWLESSLY.

NONE OF THE NIGHTMARISH TRAFFIC DISRUPTIONS OR MASS TRANSIT BREAKDOWNS MATERIALIZED. AS PREDICTED, SUBWAY AND COMMUTER LINES CONTINUED TO FUNCTION NORMALLY AND ON SCHEDULE. AND ENHANCED PROTECTION THROUGHOUT THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, INCLUDING THE DEPLOYMENT OF 300 BOMB DOGS, HELPED TO GUARANTEE THE PUBLICíS SAFETY.

IN ADDITION TO TRAINING FOR THE ANTICIPATED PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS, WE ALSO TRAINED AND EQUIPPED 10,000 OFFICERS IN ADVANCE OF THE CONVENTION TO DEAL WITH CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL AND RADIOACTIVE INCIDENTS. FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE CONVINCED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO HELP PAY FOR THE OVERTIME COSTS OF HAVING THE SAME OFFICERS WHO WORK TOGETHER ON A DAILY BASIS TRAIN TOGETHER IN THESE UNFAMILIAR AND HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS. THANKFULLY, WE DID NOT HAVE TO DEPLOY IN THIS FASHION. WE WERE PREPARED, NONETHELESS.

EIGHTEEN MONTHS OF INTENSIVE PLANNING WENT INTO THIS PROCESS. AND THE PREPARATION PAID OFF. THE FACT THAT WE WERE SO WELL PREPARED HELPS EXPLAIN WHY WE WERE SO SUCCESSFUL.

SO DOES THE NATURE OF THE DEPARTMENT ITSELF. WE HAVE STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. AND NO ONE IS MORE EXPERIENCED IN COPING WITH VERY LARGE AND VERY COMPLEX EVENTS. IN RESPONDING TO THE RELATIVELY FEW INCIDENTS OF DISORDER, WE RELIED ON STRENGTH: MOBILITY.

WE DEPLOYED THOUSANDS OF OFFICERS ON SCOOTERS, BICYCLES, AND HORSES, AND IN POLICE CARS AND VANS. ALL WERE ABLE TO RESPOND SWIFTLY AND IN FORCE WHENEVER AN EFFORT TO DISRUPT THE CITY WAS ATTEMPTED.

WE ALSO EMPLOYED NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT ENHANCED OUR COMMAND AND CONTROL. THIS INCLUDED ONGOING, REAL-TIME IMAGES OF CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THE CITY.

IN ADDITION TO STRATEGICALLY-PLACED TELEVISION CAMERAS IN AND AROUND MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AND AT OTHER KEY LOCATIONS IN THE CITY, OUR NEW POLICE HELICOPTERS WERE EQUIPPED WITH ADVANCED VIDEO EQUIPMENT AS WELL. THE NEWEST INNOVATION IN THIS CONNECTION WAS THE USE OF A BLIMP TO ESTABLISH AN ADVANCED OBSERVATION PLATFORM. IT FED REAL-TIME IMAGES IN STARTLING CLARITY TO OUR PLANNERS ON THE GROUND.

ULTIMATELY, IT WAS NOT TECHNOLOGY BUT OUR POLICE OFFICERS, THEIR SUPERVISORS, AND OUR EXECUTIVE STAFF WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE.

THEIR HARD WORK AND INGENUITY OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS PAID HUGE DIVIDENDS THIS WEEK. THEY SAFEGUARDED THE CITY AND PRESERVED THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS.