PHOTO: The city Police Department bolstered its Counterterrorism Division this year. Photo Courtesy of NYPD
With the world still reeling from recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the city Police Department visited the Borough Cabinet this week at Borough Hall to assuage some fears and detail some Counterterrorism initiatives.
Chief among those programs is the Critical Response Command, which was deployed for the first time last month. One hundred NYPD officers assigned to the new command were deployed for the first time on Nov. 16 to help protect New York City from acts of terrorism. The new command will have more than 500 officers and eight canines dedicated to counterterrorism. At least 100 officers will be on duty at any given time to protect the city against terrorism, according to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“I encourage you to be vigilant. I encourage you at all times to be professional. I encourage you at all times to understand the significant responsibilities you have agreed to accept, first upon taking your oath of office as a New York City police officer and now in this new assignment—this critical assignment,” Bratton said to the first CRC platoon.
CRC officers are trained in the full range of counterterrorist expertise, including: Portable Radiological Detection and Radiological and Nuclear Awareness; Biological and Chemical Weapons Awareness; Vehicle and Subway Checkpoints; Special Weapons and Long Guns; Port Awareness – an understanding of how weapons might be disguised and smuggled through the city region ports and of vulnerabilities of port facilities to terrorist attack; Hostile Surveillance, Behavioral Observation and Counterterrorist Awareness – the ability to detect the signs of an impending attack and to read the faces and body language of possible attackers; and Homemade Explosives and Advanced Explosive Trace Detection.
While the Intelligence Bureau collects, analyzes and acts on intelligence at the operational level, the Counterterrorism Bureau translates intelligence into training programs, target hardening programs, and anti-terrorism best practices. The Counterterrorism Bureau oversaw the development of the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative —now one of the most extensive networks of security cameras, radiological detectors, and license plate readers in the world. To increase LMSI’s effectiveness, the Counterterrorism Bureau concentrated all the data generated by this extensive network, as well as information from NYPD’s other databases, into one dashboard called the Domain Awareness System. The robust infrastructure the NYPD created to keep New Yorkers safe from acts of terrorism deters and interdicts terrorist operations directed at New York City. Despite multiple attempts, between the joint efforts of the FBI and the NYPD, there has been no successful major terrorist operation in New York since Sept. 11, 2001.
By Michael V. Cusenza firstname.lastname@example.org