The number of officers in the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit could be cut by as much as 75% – with 240 of its 300 officers redeployed to street patrols as the force faces a staffing crisis
- NYPD officers from the Counterterrorism Bureau received news that their team could soon be downsized
- Up to 75 percent of these officers would instead be assigned to street patrols and other staff vacancies
- The timeline for this change has not yet been confirmed
The NYPD’s counterterrorism unit’s workforce could be cut by as much as 75% and 240 of its 300 police officers redeployed to street-level patrols as the force faces a staffing crisis.
Members of the NYPD’s Critical Response Command, described as the “first lines of defense against a terrorist attack,” were warned this week about the possible cuts in an internal memo.
In the memo, obtained by The New York PostDeputy Chief Scott Shanley said, “Today I was informed that our unit will be significantly reduced in size, up to 75 percent.”
New York has traditionally been a target for terrorists, as the September 11 attack just reached its 22nd anniversary and has gone down in history as one of the largest terrorist attacks the US has ever seen.
The new 116th Precinct in Queens, which opens next spring, would be included in this cut.
Members of the NYPD’s Critical Response Command, described as the “first lines of defense against a terrorist attack,” were warned this week about the potential cuts in an internal memo
Sources were reported by Gothamist on Wednesday that the current number of officers in the unit could drop to as few as 60 if the new plan goes through.
The CRC unit started eight years ago with 500 officers. According to the NYPD website“CRC members are trained to respond quickly, with sufficient expertise and force, to the most organized and heavily armed attacks.”
The Counterterrorism Division itself has a wide range of responsibilities, as police are assigned to attend major events in many parts of New York, such as Times Square for New Year’s Eve, the US Open, the West Village Halloween Parade and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.
When they’re not at these major events, they can be found at other Big Apple hotspots like Penn Station, Grand Central Station, the Intrepid, the Israeli Consulate, and courthouses around the city.
These trained authorities are also dispatched when high-level politicians, such as the president, are in town.
Indicated by Gothamist On Wednesday, sources said the current number of officers in the unit could drop to as few as 60 if the new plan goes ahead.
In addition to the proposed 75% reduction for officers in the unit, the 60 supervisors staffing the unit could be reduced to just 10, a source told The New York Post.
Sources also told The Post that this setback would also affect other units, such as the 18 K-9 units that were hoping to move to Randall’s Island for use by the CRC.
If the CRC officers are transferred elsewhere, the Narcotics and Emergency Services Unit could be assigned these police dogs, sources told The Post.
The CRC unit started eight years ago with 500 officers. According to the NYPD website, “CRC members are trained to respond quickly, with sufficient expertise and force, to the most organized and heavily armed attacks.”
It is still unclear when this change might occur or when officers will be transferred to their new assignments
Although CRC officers recently received new heavy-duty body armor, the order for new helmets has since been canceled.
Judith Harrison, who has been with the NYPD for 26 years, is the current Deputy Chief of Counterterrorism for the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau.
Despite the sweeping changes outlined in the memo, officials insist no plans are yet set in stone.
In a statement from NYPD Deputy Commissioner Tarik Sheppard, he said Wednesday: “We are not committed to changing the size of any unit, and certainly do not intend to change any part of our intelligence and counterterrorism apparatus during the annual meeting of the UN. General meeting.’
It is still unclear when this change might occur or when officers will be transferred to their new assignments.