The New York Police Department is testing ground-breaking counterterror technology expected to dramatically increase its ability to detect and thwart a potential radiation attack, officials said.
The technology will allow a command center in lower Manhattan to monitor 2,000 mobile radiation detectors carried by officers each day around the city. The detectors will send a wireless, real-time alert if there’s a reading signaling a dirty bomb threat.
The system already is being tested under the watch of federal authorities in hopes it can be perfected and used elsewhere. “This is the first and only place you’ll see it,” said Jessica Tisch, an NYPD counterterrorism official.
A dirty bomb, intended to spread panic by using a small explosive to create a radioactive cloud in urban settings, has never been discovered or detonated in a US terror plot. But law enforcement considers dirty bombs a serious threat because they’re easy to build and because of intelligence that foreign terrorists want to use them against American cities.