NYPD Braces for 'Unprecedented' Security Challenge of Pope Francis Visit | NBC 10 Philadelphia
2015 Papal Visit

2015 Papal Visit

Pope Francis' First U.S. Visit, Sept. 22-27

NYPD Braces for 'Unprecedented' Security Challenge of Pope Francis Visit

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    Adding to that security challenge is the news that Pope Francis may be adding another stop to his New York visit: a motorcade through Central Park so tens of thousands more people can get a chance to see him. NBC 4 New York's Jonathan Dienst reports. (Published Monday, Aug. 31, 2015)

    Officials are preparing for the huge security challenge of Pope Francis' visit to New York City in several weeks, figuring out not only how to deal with the crush of visitors to a pope who likes to get close to people but doing so amid the United Nations General Assembly with 160 world leaders in town. 

    "It's going to be an unprecedented challenge for this department that has dealt with many precedents in the past," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. 

    Adding to that security challenge is the news that Pope Francis may be adding another stop to his New York visit: a motorcade through Central Park so tens of thousands more people can get a chance to see him. He's already planned stops at St. Patrick's Cathedral for prayer service, Madison Square Garden for mass, and the United Nations General Assembly. 

    Thousands of people at any time could be trying to catch a glimpse of the pope, and the visit in late September comes as the city braces for gridlock with world leaders in town for the annual U.N. conference. 

    Andrew Medichini/AP

    On top of that, President Obama will be coming into town for the U.N. General Assembly just as the pope is leaving town. 

    Thousands of extra officers will be assigned for the pope's visit, joining the Secret Service and other federal agencies in helping provide security. 

    "We're going to work very hard to make sure that as many people as we are able to get to actually see His Holiness while putting in extra layers of security in and around that," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism. 

    Police Monday warned New Yorkers to expect extraordinary gridlock on the streets. There will be extra trains put into service on the subway but access to some stations could be limited or even closed. 

    With the general terror threat environment a concern, there will be more vehicle checkpoints, more uniformed officers deployed across the city and additional security measures that won't necessarily be visible.

    Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. will also include stops in Washington and Philadelphia