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Nerve Center: NYPD Strikes Back at Terrorists with a Highly Equipped, Highly Motivated New Unit

NCJ Number
Police : The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2003 Pages: 30-33
Shelley Feuer Domash
Date Published
February 2003
4 pages
The article describes the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) counter-terrorism bureau.
NYPD’s counter-terrorism bureau, which operates out of a nondescript brick building somewhere in New York City, has one mission: to plan for, prevent, and detect terrorist activities in the city through training, investigation, and intelligence. The bureau comprises a joint terrorist task force, the investigative section and the counter-terrorism division, which is divided into the support unit for operations in the department, the global intelligence and analysis section, the training section, the risk assessment section, and a terrorism hotline. Risk assessment is one of the primary tasks of the bureau, with nine teams of detectives working 7 days a week going out to sensitive or critical locations in the city. Information gathered from this work is analyzed by counter-terrorism experts who use it to plan strategies for protecting the site and responding to a terrorist attack. The global intelligence section is made up of specialists who cover the U.S. State Department’s list of 35 foreign terrorist organizations. These individuals can translate dialects, follow world events, and supply essential background information on any given terrorist group at any given time. The training section is divided into three sections: internal, external, and regional. The internal section offers 35 different courses to the 40,000 members of the police department. The job of the external section is to educate civilian and business groups. Critics argue that getting civilians involved in counter-terrorism is inefficient, however the department believes that educating civilians empowers them. The department has carefully compiled information from past terrorist activity and captured terrorist training manuals. This information is passed on to its members so that they may better understand the mindset and actions of the terrorist. Understanding terrorist behavior is one of the primary goals of the bureau. The bureau’s commanding chief believes that once terrorist behavior is better understood and systems are in place for agencies to share information, then the good guys will have the upper hand.