NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly says Mayor Bloomberg can order police to shoot down a small plane in the event of a terror attack.
The NYPD may have the power to blast a small plane out of the sky, but Mayor Bloomberg is the one who would make the final call for an air strike, the city's top cop said Thursday.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that would be the game plan in "very extreme circumstances" - meaning if a small plane manned by terrorists was bearing down on the city, promising destruction and death.
The alternative - defenselessness - is not an option, Kelly told a City Council hearing Thursday.
"What we didn't want to be is totally helpless at two in the morning with a plane spreading anthrax over Manhattan," Kelly told the lawmakers.
Under questioning by Councilman David Greenfield, a Brooklyn Democrat, Kelly said the mayor is "notified immediately" whenever police learn the city is facing a terror threat.
When asked if the mayor, in an extreme circumstance with no time to plan, would ultimately be the one to decide to shoot down a plane, Kelly replied, "Yes."
Kelly said NYPD helicopters have the ability to shoot down a plane, such as a crop-duster that could be used in a bioterror attack, but it does not have the firepower to take out a jetliner.
He said the NYPD would work with the feds if a large jet ever threatened the city.