BATTERY PARK (PIX 11) – The Statue of Liberty is undoubtedly one of the most iconic landmarks for New York City, the nation and even the world. It was unveiled in 1886 and ever since represented pride for the United States and a symbol of freedom. After extensive damage suffered during Sandy, Lady Liberty will soon get ready to greet thousands and thousands of tourists again beginning on the 4th of July. But the National Park Service has implemented some changes when it comes to security.
Instead of security screenings at Battery Park and Liberty State Park in New Jersey prior to boarding ferries, visitors will now instead be screened at Ellis Island, with a second checkpoint on Liberty Island itself.
The new practice, while not in effect just yet, has already raised a few eyebrows. The NYPD voiced concerns months ago and said it was against the grain of their recommendations.
Security expert and a 20 year veteran with the NYPD, Sal LiFrieri, said earlier security screenings were crucial, particularly when talking about preventing possible acts of terrorism.
“If you can secure your outermost perimeter and prevent the device from coming in not only do you have the opportunity of a device going off on Liberty Island or within the Statue of Liberty, but you also have the problem of a device going off on the ferry as it goes towards Liberty Island,” said LiFieri.
Just as the White House placed barricades post 9-11, security screenings prior to boarding ferries were introduced for visitors to the Statue of Liberty as well. However, the National Park Service said the location at Battery Park was always meant to be temporary and also added safety was a top priority and have continued to coordinate and integrate efforts with law enforcement from a number of agencies.