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Security Tight at Ground Zero, N.Y.

September 11, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Police officers and snipers swarmed ground zero Wednesday as authorities boosted security citywide amid heightened vigilance and a new federal terror alert.

A camouflaged military helicopter with a protruding gun turret circled above the morning ceremony remembering victims of Sept. 11, and snipers toting rifles entered a high-rise lobby to establish positions overlooking the World Trade Center site.

Port Authority police also set up two decontamination tents directly south of ground zero as a precaution, and undercover police officers were deployed throughout the crowd.

Around the city, the extra caution showed in small changes at sensitive sites.

Some guards around the Police Headquarters building were seen carrying rifles for the first time in several months. Patrols around city landmarks, bridges and tunnels were strengthened.

More police officers were called in to work, many logging overtime.

``We’ll be going to 12-hour tours, not for every officer, but for certain units and certain assignments,″ Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Kelly met Tuesday with 25 government agencies, including the FBI, to share information on the eve of the attacks anniversary.

The FBI, which is also handling security for world leaders gathered for this week’s United Nations’ General Assembly, said it was deploying ``roving teams″ of agents.

At LaGuardia Airport, police and National Guardsmen were on patrol, but the terminals were nearly empty Wednesday morning.

Mike Yax, a truck driver from Detroit, flew into New York on a Spirit Airlines ``fly free″ promotion and planned to go to ground zero with four friends.

He said he was trying to send the message: ``Don’t be afraid to fly, don’t be scared to live your life.″

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