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Ahead of elections, NYPD says department is ‘prepared’ to police polling sites

NYPD patrol car (Pete Stewart/WikiCommons)

The NYPD plans to have hundreds of officers on standby as early voting for the presidential election begins this weekend, though officials on Tuesday said that the department has received “no specific credible threats” ahead of voters heading to the ballot box.

“Across the nation, we hold voting as a sacred right for every American,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Here at the NYPD, ensuring that every New Yorker is safe while they cast their ballot is a top priority.”

As required by law, Monahan said that officers will be present at the 1,201 polling sites on Election Day, which now include Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center and the Lincoln Center; additionally, there will be a police presence at the 88 early voting sites that open on Saturday.

While Monahan said that the department doesn’t “expect anything different than what’s happened at every presidential election,” the department has monitored previously, he said there will be teams of officers prepared to mobilize “quickly throughout the city” if unrest occurs.

“If anyone tries to interfere with people’s right to vote, we will take action,” Monahan said of the department’s role of policing the polling stations. “I don’t see any reason for anyone to try and affect anyone’s right to vote. This is what America is all about, letting people get out there and vote.”

After protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., spread to New York City, Monahan said officers received additional training concerning crowd control. New York Attorney General Letitia James made recommendations to the NYPD amid an active investigation into some of its tactics used during the demonstrations.

John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, said the department is actively monitoring any threats to the election, including concerns of cyber attacks that could occur.

The NYPD is working in tandem with New York City Cyber Command and the FBI’s Cyber Division, Miller said, and is also running through physical scenarios that could affect election safety — including protests, suspicious packages and explosives — though he reiterated that no such threats have been credibly received by the department.

Speaking to the public, Monahan was resolute: “Come out and vote. Have no fear about going into an election site. We will be there and we will make sure everyone is safe.”


(c) 2020 Staten Island Advance

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