| MTA earmarks 212M to beef up security
DAILY NEWS | August 24, 2005
BY TAMER EL-GHOBASHY
One thousand new video cameras. Three thousand new motion detector sensors. A new police command center.
These are the key elements of a $212 million security enhancement meant to make New York commuters safer from terrorist attacks.
But will they work?
Henry Nocella, a security consultant and terrorism expert with ASIS International, said the high-tech system is not fail-safe, but it's "a significant" start.
"This is one step today with the understanding that there are 99 steps to take over several years," he said.
Security experts agreed the system will greatly improve the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's ability to prevent the type of attack that occurred in London's Underground in July that killed 52 people.
MTA Executive Director Katherine Lapp rejected the notion that the measures were taken in large part because of the London attacks, noting that planning for the security upgrades has been ongoing for more than a year and the contract to implement the technology was awarded to Lockheed Martin last week.
Lapp said the initiative will begin immediately with the cameras and sensors being installed throughout the MTA system, including Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North hubs and bridges and tunnels. None of the devices will be deployed on subway cars or buses.
"This is a system that is not only going to record incidents after an attack, but it will actually detect intruders and unattended packages and will give us an alert," Lapp said yesterday in announcing the agency's largest counterterrorism initiative.
"We will respond and hopefully prevent an attack from happening," Lapp added.
The computer and software technology integrating the security will be completed over three years.
Judy Marks, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, said existing technology, including closed-circuit TV cameras that monitor activities at MTA sites, will be integrated and linked to the MTA police mobile command center.
The new technology will set off an alarm at the command centers if someone leaves a package unattended on a subway platform or enters a restricted area, officials said.
The program marks the largest financial commitment by the MTA to enhancing security since the agency approved a $591 million security plan in 2002.
"I commend the MTA for taking this important step to increase the security of our mass transit system, and urge them tomake seeing it through to completion their highest priority," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.
"They need to move forward immediately with installing more cameras in subway stations as they are an important deterrent and will be an invaluable investigative tool for the NYPD."