Filled dump trucks to protect NYC Thanksgiving parade
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.
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.