New York, NY (WIBX) - The Department of Homeland Security is evaluating programs aimed at protecting New Yorkers from the threat of a nuclear weapon attack. The 5 day full scale exercise is in its 4th day and it involves emergency first responders and 150 agencies. Keeping in step with Securing the Cities, (STC) program exercise, law makers held a public hearing in the city to hear testimony from officials who presented an overview of the state's preparedness since 9/11.

Member of the Homeland Security Committee, State Senator Joseph Griffo, (R-Rome) took part in the hearings and says it's also about understanding among different groups of people and said, "Even from some of the individuals on both sides of the issue of the Islamic jihad." Griffo went onto explain that the focus of the hearing will also center around, "What is the culture out in the communities today, and what needs to be done to ensure collectively as a society, that we continue to respect one another and to understand and appreciate one another but also to remain vigilant and prepared to forgo any potential threat or terrorist activity."

In Oneida County, he says vigilance is strong, but due to the nuclear facilities and other infrastructures in the region, including the areas natural resources, like water,  law enforcement must constantly maintain their preparedness and continue to work to stop the threat of terrorism. "In our area we have two things going on. Number one, I would hope that we can benefit economically from protecting our community and our state and country. And then secondly, we have a number of facilities and initiatives that I think will ensure that we're undertaking what needs to be done to avoid and prepare for any potential problem," Griffo said.

Securing the Cities is a program that started in 2006 and provides equipment, training and other national security tools to law enforcement agencies. Officials with the program say to date, STC has provided over 5,800 pieces of detection equipment, trained close to 11,000 personnel and carried out over 100 emergency preparedness drills.

In a released statement DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano said,"The Securing the Cities program is a key component of the Department's efforts to protect the nation from terrorist threats. The STC pilot program has helped build a capacity among first responders to help detect illicit radiological and nuclear weapons or materials in a major metropolitan area that simply did not exist four years ago."

The public hearing chaired by Congressman Peter King, (R-NY) heard testimony on the following topics:

  • An overview of America's Preparedness since 9/11
  • Testimony on NYPD's Pre & Post 9/11 Preparedness
  • Testimony on Sharia Law and The Culture of Jihad
  • Testimony of Identification, Drivers Licenses for illegal Aliens
  • Testimony on Radio Interoperability, also within the MTA
  • Testimony on Entergy's Indian Point Security and Emergency Preparedness
  • Private Contract Security Company's Role in Protecting America's Most Prestigious Organizations and Sites
  • Testimony on Protecting the Homeland, Corporate Security and Infrastructure Protection
  • Testimony on Security in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Since 9/11
  • Testimony on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Electro Magnetic Pulse Devices
  • Testimony on International Terrorism
  • Testimony on International Global Terror Threat
  • Testimony on Counter Terrorism on the Front-lines From an Officers View
  • County Emergency Preparedness and Responses to Terror Threats
  • Testimony on 9/11 Families

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