This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, February 16, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight: The New York [City] Police Department is preparing for what is being called a possible catastrophic terror attack involving nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. This would be the most threatening attack facing the city since 9/11.
Joining us from our New York bureau is New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Welcome, sir.
RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Good to be with you,Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, in anticipation of the thing we never wantto hear about, one of those horrible attacks, what is the NYPD doing?
KELLY: Well, we've done a lot since September 11. One of the things we're embarking on this week is something we call "cohort training," where we train units as an entity, rather than training officers individually. They'll be receiving new equipment. They'll be going to a series of training stations, where they'll be involved in different events. This is a two-day series of training. They'll be exposed to some very mild irritant, to see if their mask is properly fitted.
That's just an ongoing incremental process in the training that westarted over two years ago.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you're talking about equipment. Is it only masks, or what other kind of new equipment does the NYPD have?
KELLY: Well, protective clothing, as well. Officers have masks now. We have well over 30,000 masks distributed throughout the department. Now we're moving up to a higher level of protective mask, the millennium mask, but we want to make certain that officers are familiar with the equipment that they've received and it's properly fitted to their face. That's one of the exercises that they'll be involved in.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So a catastrophic attack hits New York, a dirty bomb, for instance. The police don this sort of gear. What about the seven, eight, nine million people you have in Manhattan? What's the plan to evacuate them or protect them?
KELLY: Well, it all depends on the situation that we encounter. But we have to be able to operate in the toxic environment, be it biological,chemical or radiological. We have to function so that the public canfunction, can be administered to. That's the -- our primary goal is to prepare to help the public. We are in the prevention business. We want to prevent an attack, but we also have to be ready to do our job in the event that an attack of this nature happens.
VAN SUSTEREN: What -- how much does this cost, this new equipmentthat you have? Any idea?
KELLY: Oh, the new equipment, over time, is probably going to cost close to $30 million. We've received some federal money that's enabled us to do this cohort training, and we've received some money about a year-and-a-half ago that's enabled us to get some equipment. Some of it is city money, some of it is federal money.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so let me do some rough math. How much does the federal government help New York City? How much money have the Feds given you?
KELLY: Well, it's difficult to say because it comes in different pieces. I can tell you that -- this is not a new story, but we don't think that it's enough. The money that's distributed to the federal governmentso far -- has been distributed by the federal government has beendistributed on a per capita basis. We're very much encouraged by President Bush's 2005 budget proposal because it appears that the majority of the money is going to be distributed on a threat-analysis basis. And of course, that helps big cities like New York. We think that's the way to go. But the exact dollar amount, it's always -- it's shifting, but clearly, we think we need considerably more.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think you're ready? I mean, I don't know if you can ever be ready for a catastrophic attack, but I mean, do you feel comfortable tonight?
KELLY: Well, we're better prepared than we've ever been, but this is an ongoing process. We have to continue to get better. We have to continue to plan. You never stop planning. You never stop preparing. Again, it's an incremental process. We're better than we were, but we have to continue to get better.
VAN SUSTEREN: How many police officers did you lose, Sir, in 9/11?
KELLY: We lost 23 New York City police officers. There were 37 PortAuthority police officers who were killed and 343 New York City firefighters.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And in terms of the firefighters and the police officers, are you now sort of up to full complement that you've been able to train and get at least yourself up to that point?
KELLY: Yes. We're at a number that we're comfortable with. Of course, we're a big organization, so we attrit out people virtually everyday. But we're at a number -- the mayor wants to make certain that we're staffed to protect this city, and I think we're at a level to do precisely that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you -- in terms of since 9/11, have you had any big scares that the rest of us haven't heard about, that kept you up but just the rest of us were able to sleep?
KELLY: Oh, there's this kind of ongoing flow of information. And again, most of it lacks precision, but there's enough there to get us concerned. So we've had a series of those, and that's something that we have to contend with in our post-9/11 world. So the answer is yes, but that's all part of the business.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Commissioner. Thank you, sir.
KELLY: Thank you, Greta.
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