Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, center, briefs police officials.
Photo credit: AP Photo/NYPD, File
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly dropped a bombshell last night -- the NYPD has weapons powerful enough to blow a rogue aircraft out of the sky.
Kelly -- answering questions about the department's state-of-the-art anti-terrorism system on CBS's "60 Minutes" -- admitted that the city is packing an arsenal on par with some militaries.
"Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?" interviewer Scott Pelley pressed Kelly.
"Yes. I prefer not to get into details, but obviously, this would be in a very extreme situation," Kelly replied.
Police sources told The Post that the weapon that Kelly was referring to involves a Barret .50 caliber rifle, which can be mounted on almost any police chopper.
The weapon, which the department has had for four years, is stored in an NYPD safe and is deployed only for "special occasions," such as when the president is in town, the sources added.
The gun is available only to the military and law-enforcement agencies.
Similar armed helicopters are used by the Coast Guard to disable outboard engines on boats from the air during chases.
Weapons analysts said one .50 caliber round fired into a car engine would stop the vehicle cold.
The bullets -- variations of which have been used by the military since the 1920s -- will penetrate most commercial brick walls and concrete cinder blocks.
Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne confirmed last night that "NYPD Aviation has weapons that could be deployed with that capability."
During the televised segment, Kelly also showed off his high-tech, hidden bunker, where a supercomputer helps monitor a $150 million surveillance network of at least 2,000 cameras in lower Manhattan and thousands of radiation detectors throughout the city. An additional 1,000 cameras are expected to go online soon.
Officials said it is now nearly impossible to walk a block in lower Manhattan without being on surveillance camera.
"Nobody has a system like this," said Jessica Tisch, the NYPD's director of policy and planning for counterterrorism, as she demonstrated for the show how the department's computer can watch all the cameras at once and knows if an unattended package has been left in one place for too long.
Last year, the system detected a bag someone had dropped outside the New York Stock Exchange. Within minutes, the bomb squad inspected it with an X-ray machine and a bomb tech crawled up to look inside.
"And, thank God, it's someone who dropped their lunch," Tisch said.
Kelly also shared how, after the deadly 2008 hotel attack in Mumbai, India, the NYPD built a video library of the hallways, walkways and doorways of 700 New York hotels.
Republished with permission of The New York Post