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September 25, 2011

New York Cops Able to Shoot Down a Plane Says Commissioner

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In a television interview first aired on Sunday, New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said that his department would have the ability to shoot down a plane if needed.

CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley interviewed Kelly as part of a feature detailing the extensive capabilities the NYPD has assembled since the Sept. 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

In one exchange (starts at 5:15), Pelley asks the Commissioner about NYPD’s preparedness for airborne threats.

Pelley: Are you satisfied that you’ve dealt with threats from aircraft, even light planes, model planes, that kind of thing?
Kelly: Well, it’s something that’s on our radar screen. I mean, in an extreme situation, we would have some means to take down a plane.
Pelley: Do you mean to say the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?
Kelly: Yes, I’d prefer not to get into the details, but, obviously this would be in a very extreme situation.
Pelley: You have the equipment and the training?
Kelly: Yes.

Kelly’s statement raises a whole litany of questions:

  • Does the NYPD have surface-to-air missiles? Air-to-air missiles mounted on police helicopters?
  • Under what circumstances would they be used? If a weekend warrior wanders a little too close to the skyline in his Cessna, will he be shot down?
  • What kind of authority would be needed to use such weapons?


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  • Anonymous

    Let’s do the math…  Moving shooting position, manual targeting  – check, check.  Fast moving target – fast check.  Probability of hitting target?  Pretty darn low.