New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Tuesday he wants more video cameras in the city and more police posted overseas in the wake of a failed plot to bomb Times Square.
Mr. Kelly didn't specify in which countries he wants to add police presence. New York Police Department officers already are stationed in London in Scotland Yards headquarters, Paris, Lyon in Interpol headquarters, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Toronto, Montreal, Santo Domingo and Amman, Jordan.
Police spokesman Paul Browne says that the NYPD is interested in at least three or four other overseas posts for NYPD officers but declined to name the locations. Commissioner Kelly said the postings will depend "on the hospitality of the host nation" but said no host nation had declined a specific offer.
Creating a new post abroad takes time. Mr. Browne said a post must make strategic sense and the NYPD has to find the right candidate from its ranks: A high achiever, fluent in the native tongue and diplomatic.
"The NYPD has a great brand overseas," Mr. Browne said. "There's high expectations that come with these postings and we want to meet it, so that means a very careful selection process on our end."
Mr. Kelly said the expansion of the so-called ring of steel, an interconnected web of thousands of video cameras, from lower manhattan to midtown Manhattan would cost $40 million and that five years from now, "a robust system" will be in place.
Commissioner Kelly said the midtown segment of the security initiative would likely be done within five years even as he compared New York's program with that of London, where 500,000 cameras are cataloged.
"I don't think we ever get to a point where we say, 'Hey, that's it,' " said Commissioner Kelly, when asked when the city would complete the ring of steel surveillance program.
Expanding video surveillance in the city has created privacy concerns from civil-liberties advocates even as police push for added counterterror capabilities in the wake of attacks.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, "Before we engage in massive surveillance, before we spend vast resources on all surveillance all the time, we need to look at if it works and we need to look at privacy implications."
Commissioner Kelly said there are currently 5,000 cameras in public housing and 550 cameras deployed throughout the city as part of the Argus program. The commissioner said the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative has a few hundred police cameras and a few hundred private cameras catalogued in a program that will eventually make up roughly 3,000 cameras in the area.
A significant part of the video surveillance program going forward will be video analytics, computer algorithms written to automatically alert officers to possible terror attacks or criminal activities. Mr. Kelly said the video analytic component "is a major leap forward."
Jessica Tisch, of the NYPD counterterror bureau, explained Tuesday that analytics had spotted a suspicious package 18 out of 20 times in a test run.