Police Commissioner James O’Neill: , Election Day in New York City, brings with it a very unique set of challenges. For the first time in modern memory, both major party candidates for president will monitor the results here in New York and hold election night parties in Midtown Manhattan. So, in addition to securing the over 1,000 polling sites around the five boroughs all day, we also have two large venues, the Jacob Javits Center and the New York Hilton Hotel to safeguard as well.
The NYPD has a great working relationship with the United States Secret Service. It used to be Bob Sica, now it is Dave Beach and Dave is going to speak. And together, we have been planning how to best protect these sites and the people inside, while minimizing the impact on New Yorkers and the vehicular and pedestrian traffic outside. There are many ways we will be keeping you safe. There will be much the public will see and much the public will not see. In a few moments, Carlos Gomez, our Chief of Department, will provide an overview of some of the resources that will be deployed and will update you on what to expect in terms of street closures.
I’d like to have our Counterterrorism Chief Jim Waters speak to that aspect of our planning. , I want everyone to remember, of course, that public safety is a shared responsibility. If anyone sees something that doesn’t look right or doesn’t feel right, let one of our officers know about it. There will be no shortage of uniformed cops around to tell – or call 9-1-1. Remember, that is what we are here for. We are here to keep people safe.
I’ll finish up with this, planning for security events like this is a big part of what we do. You recall that just one year ago we faced perhaps the largest security challenge the NYPD and this City ever had to deal with when Pope Francis visited New York City during the United Nations General Assembly while President Obama and 90 percent of the world’s leaders were here at the same time. So this is nothing new to us. So this kind of preparation is nothing new also for the men and women of this great police department.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much. Thank you, Commissioner. I want to start by saying that the men and women of the NYPD are doing an extraordinary job as we prepare for this unprecedented day . And evidence of that is already clear from the way that the marathon was handled yesterday – an extraordinary example of what the NYPD and all the City agencies are able to do together. The marathon came off very safely and without a hitch, so I commend you Commissioner and all the men and women that you lead.
I also want to say it is a tough time for our police officers. They are feeling deeply the loss of Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo. And I have talked to a number of officers in the last few days and offered my condolences to them. And one thing is clear – is that people are feeling this deeply. And they honor their fallen comrade and the heroic act that he took to save the lives of so many others. I’d like to ask for a moment of silence for Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo.
The resolve of the NYPD and of everyone who works for the City of New York is quite clear in this moment. We told you a few days ago that we expected that there would be a level of vigilance starting , continuing through today, and into that would lead to extraordinary presence of NYPD officers at key sites around the city, and obviously an extraordinary effort on Election Day itself. Everyone is focused; everyone is resolved in carrying out that mission. And we know that the eyes of the world will be on New York City. We have an obligation, not only to the people of this city, but to this country to make sure that , all through the day, and particularly night, goes smoothly and goes well. So we have extraordinary resources in place to do that and we’ll be working very closely with our federal partners.
I want to be clear at the outset – New York City will never be intimidated – never by threats of terror, nor by anyone who wants to do anything to disrupt our electoral process. We’re focused on the big stage night, but we’re also focused on our poll sites all over the city during the day. We will not allow any form of voter intimidation. NYPD is ready to step in if we see any evidence of that occurring.
Now, I want to thank, in addition to Commissioner O’Neill, I want to thank our First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker; our Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, John Miller – all of the NYPD leadership present. I particularly want to thank the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office for the Secret Service, David Beach, for your partnership and your work together as we prepare for this extraordinary day. And my colleagues in elective office –Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Brad Hoylman – thank you for your support.
Let me note that it takes on a very special significance. It has been a tough election year. We all know this. It’s been in many ways a challenging and painful year. It’s strained our democracy, but is the day when we get to make it right when the democratic process comes alive and the people choose. It is our sacred obligation to protect that process; to make sure that democracy unfolds as it is meant to be. The NYPD not only has all of its traditional extraordinary resources, but as you know over the last year or two, we have added tremendous anti-terrorism capacity, particularly the 500-plus member Critical Response Command, the Strategic Response Group as well playing a crucial role. We have beefed up our ability to handle multiple sites simultaneously. And I agree with the Commissioner’s analysis. Last year, with the Pope, and 170 world leaders in town at the – all at the same time plus the president of the United States – that showed the range and the ability of the NYPD. And you’re going to see it again today and . We’ve also deepened over the last few years the partnership with the federal agencies, and that has allowed for a much more seamless flow of information and much greater partnership. You saw that in the aftermath of the Chelsea bombing. So, a lot is changing to help us cover more ground and keep people safer.
And again, we have an obligation to protect the voting process, so you will see, of course, NYPD officers at every poll site around the city. And if we see any evidence of voter intimidation, we have the ability to reinforce those sites quickly and make sure that any pattern of intimidation is snuffed out immediately.
Bottom-line for all New Yorkers is – expect to see a lot of NYPD presence today and . Know that you are safe and well-protected. You will see the presence at key locations around the City. You’ll see it in the subways; you’ll see it around the locations where the election celebrations will be happening. But we all depend on the people of this city. The phrase – if you see something, say something – is a very specific idea; it’s not just words; it means we’re all responsible; it means we all have to help the NYPD. So, I remind people to keep those words in mind over these next few days.
We are a society that honors democracy, that honors freedom, that honors inclusivity. We’re a society that believes that people of all backgrounds can actually work together. We’re going to prove it over the next 24 hours here in New York City.