NEW YORK — As part of an enhanced security plan developed after the Boston Marathon bombings in April, the New York Police Department plans to deploy helicopters, police boats, scuba divers, bomb-sniffing dogs and hundreds of cameras, as well as hundreds of officers, at today's New York City Marathon.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday that the department began making a security strategy for this year's marathon a day after the Boston bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. Kelly said runners and spectators should expect additional security measures, including bag searches. No specific threats have been identified, he said.
"This will be the best protected race that they can enter," Kelly said in a message to runners. "There are no guarantees in our post-9/11 world, but we're doing everything we reasonably can to protect the runners and the spectators and have this be a safe and enjoyable event."
One of the most significant changes from previous years will be in the level of video surveillance, Kelly said. Almost the entire marathon route will be covered.
The importance of cameras was demonstrated after the Boston bombings, Kelly said, when investigators used video to identify the suspected bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Kelly said police department scuba divers began sweeping the shoreline and bridges Thursday. Helicopters and police boats will patrol the air and water during the race, while hundreds of officers, all carrying radiation detectors, will cover the ground. In addition, 43 bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the start and finish lines, he said.
The fire department, too, has placed added emphasis on training for the possibility of a "terrorist-type activity," said James Long, a department spokesman, who declined to elaborate.
Mary Wittenberg, the president of New York Road Runners, the marathon organizer, said the group had put on 20 races since the Boston bombings without incident and expected today to be the same.