- Hundreds of New York emergency responders simulated a coordinated terror attack yesterday, days before one of the city's biggest public events: the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The long-planned drill at a Manhattan subway station got a last-minute update in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris. Officials added an "attacker" wearing a suicide vest.
"In New York City, we are, at this time, very well-prepared and continually improving that preparedness," Commissioner William Bratton said outside the abandoned Bowery station in lower Manhattan.
The three-hour active-shooter exercise took place in the pricey Soho neighborhood populated by art galleries and boutiques. Members of the police, fire and federal Homeland Security departments went into action after a mock call reporting a gunman on the station platform.
First responders from various emergency departments worked as a team, with communication and coordination among agencies a top goal.
"There have been very significant improvements in that capacity since 9/11, also the coordination with the fire department," Bratton said.
The Department of Homeland Security used the exercise to test technologies including GoPro-like cameras worn by first responders and acoustic gunshot detection systems designed to give police and firefighters information to coordinate their responses. Such systems are being developed for surveillance of the subway system, the commissioner said.
Bratton said New York law-enforcement authorities, together with Homeland Security, are working closely with Paris investigators studying details of the Nov. 13 attacks there, aiming to prepare for similar suicide-bomber terrorism that New York has never experienced.
The commissioner said New York would send a law-enforcement team to Paris when that probe was completed to learn as much as possible from those operations.