Filled dump trucks to pro­tect NYC Thanks­giv­ing pa­rade

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

NEW YORK — Fans of the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade who go to see the soar­ing SpongeBob and Snoopy bal­loons may get a far less heart­warm­ing sight this year: gi­ant dump trucks filled with sand.

More than 80 city san­i­ta­tion trucks will be used at in­ter­sec­tions and other strate­gic spots along the 2

- mile pa­rade route Thurs­day to cre­ate an im­pos­ing phys­i­cal bar­rier to ter­ror. The trucks weigh about 16 tons empty and up to twice that with sand.

“You can ram a New York City San­i­ta­tion De­part­ment sand truck with a lot of things, but you’re not go­ing to move it,” said John Miller, the New York Po­lice De­part­ment’s top coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cial.

While the trucks have been used like this be­fore — most re­cently to pro­tect Trump Tower — the New York Po­lice De­part­ment says they will play a big­ger role at this year’s pa­rade in the wake of the deadly July cargo truck at­tack in Nice, France, and a re­cent post­ing in an English-lan­guage Is­lamic State mag­a­zine that called the pa­rade “an ex­cel­lent tar­get.”

Au­thor­i­ties say there’s no con­fir­ma­tion of a cred­i­ble threat and they have re­peat­edly urged spec­ta­tors to not stay away.

Miller said that while such post­ings are psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare in­tended to spread a mes­sage of fear, “we never ac­cede to that.”

Aside from the trucks, se­cu­rity for the pa­rade in­cludes teams of of­fi­cers armed with as­sault weapons, bomb-sniff­ing dogs and por­ta­ble ra­di­a­tion de­tec­tors. Plain­clothes of­fi­cers will blend in with the crowd, and other of­fi­cers will be posted on rooftops along the pa­rade route.

The ef­fort comes at a time when the na­tion’s largest po­lice de­part­ment al­ready is stretch­ing its re­sources to pro­tect the mid­town Man­hat­tan home of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

MANUEL BALCE CENETA/AP

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, with neph­ews Aaron and Austin Robin­son and Na­tional Tur­key Fed­er­a­tion Chair­man John Re­icks, par­dons the Na­tional Thanks­giv­ing Tur­key, Tot, in the Rose Gar­den on Wed­nes­day. A se­cond tur­key, Tater, was also spared.

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