Fans of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade who come to see the soaring SpongeBob and Snoopy balloons may get a far less heartwarming sight this year: giant dump trucks filled with sand. More than 80 city sanitation trucks will be used at intersections and other strategic spots along the 2.5-mile parade route to create an imposing physical barrier to terror. The trucks weigh about 16 tons empty and up to twice that with sand. "You can ram a New York City Sanitation Department sand truck with a lot of things, but you're not going to move it," says John Miller, the NYPD's top counterterrorism official. Aside from the trucks, security for the parade includes teams of officers armed with assault weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and portable radiation detectors, the AP reports.
While the trucks have been used like this before—most recently to protect Trump Tower—the NYPD says they will play a bigger role at this year's parade in the wake of the cargo truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people and a recent posting in an English-language Islamic State magazine that called the parade "an excellent target." As scary as that sounds, authorities say there's no confirmation of a credible threat and they have repeatedly urged spectators to not stay away. Miller says that while such postings are psychological warfare intended to spread a message of fear, "We never accede to that." A front-page headline in Tuesday's Daily News creatively paraphrased the message the NYPD seeks to send: "Truck You, ISIS!" (Read more Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade stories.)