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Statue of Liberty Reopening Plan Opposed by N.Y. Police

March 23 (Bloomberg) -- The New York City Police Department criticized a National Park Service plan to reopen the Statue of Liberty, closed since Hurricane Sandy battered the island in October, without screening visitors before they board ferries in Manhattan.

“The Park Service’s decision to reopen the Statue of Liberty without screening in Manhattan was made against the NYPD’s recommendation and leaves unresolved the vulnerability to attack on ferry passengers en route to both Liberty and Ellis islands,” Paul Browne, a police spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said March 19 that the statue would reopen to visitors on July 4 after storm damage to Liberty Island had been repaired.

The hurricane destroyed the docks, crippled the energy infrastructure and wiped out the security screening system, according to Salazar’s statement. Before the storm, passengers were screened in Manhattan before boarding ferries at Battery Park. The park service proposes to move security screening to Liberty Island.

Salazar said in the March 19 statement that an annual National Park Service report showed that 3.7 million people visited the park in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs.

“The National Park Service and the New York City Police Department, which have been engaged in a longstanding conversation about security measures for guests visiting the Statue of Liberty, will continue discussions in coming weeks to devise a security protocol for the safety of passengers before they board ferries at the Battery,” Browne said in a later joint statement yesterday with Jeffrey Olson, a National Park Service spokesman.

“We share a mutual interest in protecting both the monument and the visitors,” according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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