NEW YORK — PIX11 was granted unprecedented access to see what it takes to keep New Yorkers safe during the Fourth of July.
The fireworks used by Macy's are launched from barges in the East River and the NYPD Harbor unit's job to make sure the show goes on without a hitch.
"We dove all these barges several days ago. All the divers will scan the entire perimeter and the underside of the barge," said Capt. Anthony Russo, the acting commander of the NYPD Harbor Unit.
"Once we dive it this one of these launches we'll stay with it 24/7 until the day of the event so that we know it wasn't tampered with," he said.
The barges are escorted from New York Harbor to the East River by a NYPD boat.
July 4th is one of the busiest days in New York's 150 miles of navigable waterways.
"We're looking for radiation threats, active shooter threats. We have numerous dinner boats out on the water, so we we have boarding teams ready in case there's an active shooter on that dinner in a boat or ferry we can tactically for that launch and neutralize that threat," Russo said.
The NYPD utilizes radiation detector technology and underwater drones to search for potential threats.
"We would scan high spectator areas see if there's any radiological anomalies. We could also scan any incoming containerships bridge stanchions you name it whatever the boats pass and it will pick up the radiological signature," he said.
"We do this every day. We're just supplementing what we do with beefing it up a lot more so that made sure nothing happens. Everybody should just concentrate on having a good time. And we will protect you out here on the water."