TOM BEARDEN: The New York City Police Department has been working on the security plan for the Republican National Convention for more than a year. Recently the department staged a demonstration for the press on the tactics officers would use in various scenarios.
This is how officers would react if they detect something suspicious in a vehicle trying to enter the security zone around the convention hall -- Madison Square Garden. All vehicles will be routed through special structures called "sally ports" -- barricaded enclosures that have television cameras to scan the undersides.
Thousands of officers have also gone through a two-day course called "COBRA" -- which stands for chemical, ordinance, biological, and radiological. This training scenario took place inside a mock subway car, where a chemical agent supposedly had been released. Police Officer Ray McPartland has helped train more than 8,000 people since January.
OFFICER RAY McPARTLAND: What we're trying to get away from is the tunnel vision effect that most police officers sometimes get. And we're trying to get everybody to take the entire picture when they walk in.
That particular training incident, the first and foremost thing that they want to do is to triage, to take people out, to aid the victims. On the same instance, we have to be out looking for secondary devices, possibly anything, dissemination devices for the chemical itself.
TOM BEARDEN: There will also be extensive electronic surveillance throughout the city. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND KELLY: We will have a lot of cameras in the vicinity of Madison Square Garden and in some other areas of the city as well. There'll be biological, chemical detection gear that is deployed, not only in the vicinity of Madison Square Garden but other areas in the city as well.
TOM BEARDEN: This is the central monitoring point for all of those cameras -- the Multi-Agency Communications Center known as "the MACC". Here representatives from every federal, state, and local agency involved will be posted 24 hours a day during the convention.
The center can access more than 200 street cameras which can monitor almost every bridge, tunnel, and street corner.Police say this is where decisions will be made on how to respond to a terrorist attack or an out of control protest.
One of the biggest security challenges is protecting Madison Square Garden without bringing the city to a standstill Several major streets will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic. Further complicating things is the fact that the Garden sits right on top of the mostly underground Pennsylvania Train Station where about a thousand trains stop every day.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police will be on high alert. Bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the passenger concourses and inspect the trains. National Guardsmen are also on duty.
TOM BEARDEN: Across the Hudson River in Newark, New Jersey Transit is also taking extraordinary measures. Normally, most of the agency's commuter trains terminate in Penn Station. But since only two of the station's eight exits will be open to passengers during the convention, the Authority has decided to reroute a lot of trains to Hoboken, where they will transfer to a different commuter line called the Path system.
New Jersey Transit's George Warrington.
GEORGE WARRINGTON: You have today about 600,000 people a day who are coming into and out of Penn Station New York, and with an eye toward moving some of those folks away from the facility to ease that stress and that congestion, just pedestrian congestion alone, access and egressing the station, we think will be very helpful.
TOM BEARDEN: Warrington also says every New Jersey transit train going into New York will be inspected by transit police and state troopers. And commuters will not be able to use the overhead luggage racks.
GEORGE WARRINGTON: If you go back to the Madrid bombing, it was clear that there were several gym bags that were left in vestibules and overhead luggage racks that were unattended, and the objective of the onboard inspections before a train goes into New York, into Penn Station, is to have every one of those cars inspected by an officer to make sure that there are no unattended bags.
TOM BEARDEN: And as if all this weren't enough, a "no-fly" zone, with a ten-mile radius centered on the Garden, has been declared, with additional restrictions out to thirty miles. The Coast Guard and NYPD's harbor patrol have also been mobilized to monitor the waterways that surround Manhattan.
All of this comes on top of already heightened security precautions that the city instituted in response to recent intelligence finds. Police officers are stationed in strength outside the Citicorp headquarters, for one example...on Wall Street, and elsewhere.
Police are also randomly stopping and searching trucks on city streets. A special squad called Hercules circulates around the city, its members in full combat gear, carrying automatic weapons. Their goal is a show of force around points of possible terrorist threats.
RAYMOND KELLY: We're doing some additional things in light of the most recent threat information that's been uncovered in, in the UK and, and Afghanistan, Pakistan.
TOM BEARDEN: Police have also been training to deal with protesters. Some predict up to a quarter of a million activists may show up over the weekend. In this training demonstration officers practiced separating protesters who might lock themselves together with plastic tubing... Police would use portable saws to separate people... then another unit would make the arrests.
Police Commissioner Kelly was on hand to watch his officers apply their 18 months of training.
RAYMOND KELLY: I don't necessarily anticipate any major problems, but we have to be prepared. We know that there's a small percentage of people coming here to be disruptive, to cause some problems, so we're, we're prepared for that and practice for that. I think all in all, it'll be a largely peaceful event.
TOM BEARDEN: The protesters have also been training...on how to deal with the police. Activists have been schooled on their legal rights, how to talk to the media, and how to deal with police. Kristin Norderval attended because she says in the past it's been the police who have turned peaceful protests violent.
KRISTIN NORDERVAL: They created a situation that made chaos and made danger. And I am intimidated by that, so I want to find out how I can protect myself in a self defense possibility.
TOM BEARDEN: Bob Wing is the national co-chair for United for Peace and Justice, a coalition group organizing a large protest for Sunday.
BOB WING: We're basically telling people to, to be calm, you know, we're telling people that we will have monitors to help people know what to do and to follow their directions that our whole purpose will be to be peaceful.
TOM BEARDEN: Inspector Thomas Graham is in charge of the training program where police learn how to deal with large protest crowds. He's also interested in keeping the peace.
INSPECTOR THOMAS GRAHAM: We do not want cops to lose their cool in the sense that they're going to be working long days. We don't want officers to lose their temper unnecessarily. We throw things at them. We bait them; we argue with them; we try to actually break through their lines - just to try to give the cops some realistic training.
TOM BEARDEN: One potential point of confrontation concerns the use of Central Park. The city has refused to issue a permit for a mass rally there, citing concerns about damage to newly-restored landscaping.
Bob Wing's group sued the city over the denial, and on Tuesday demonstrated outside the city courthouse while a hearing was being held. The court eventually declined to order the city to issue the permit. But Wing says they will continue to try to negotiate access to Central Park up to the last minute.
Needless to say, all this training and multiple layers of security costs money. Even without factoring in overtime, the police department says it will spend at least $75 million on convention security. But so far the federal government is only offering about $50 million in reimbursement.
Commissioner Kelly hopes the business taxes generated by throngs of delegates and other visitors arriving over the weekend will go a long way to make up the difference.