November 30, 2015 5:45 pm


PBA, SBA Say NYPD Not Giving Members Anti-Terrorist Tools


ROY RICHTER: Better off without assault weapons.  
PATRICK J. LYNCH: Give cops more training, firepower.  
EDWARD D. MULLINS: ‘Like canaries in a coal mine.’   

The unions representing NYPD Police Officers and Sergeants last week said the city’s plans to deal with simultaneous terrorist attacks on multiple targets like those that hit Paris are inadequate because patrol officers, who would be the first to respond, are insufficiently trained and armed to handle them.

“As we have warned in the past, there is a soft spot in the department’s anti-terrorism plan because it is likely that the first to arrive on the scene of a Paris-style attack will be regular local patrol officers who are neither trained nor equipped to engage the terrorists,” Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told the New York Post.

“In the event of multiple, simultaneous attacks, countless lives could be saved by equipping patrol officers with the appropriate weapons and giving them the training needed to engage terrorists immediately instead of waiting for specialized units to respond.”

He added, “Every patrol car should be a mini-counterterrorism unit with heavy weapons, ballistic vests and helmets, and every officer should be fully trained to respond to a terrorist attack.”

Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton have touted special units, the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Group, which when fully established will total more than 1,300 officers. Those units will be prepared to respond to multiple attacks citywide, they said.

But Mr. Lynch and Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association, said the units are unlikely to be first-responders to a terrorist incident. That duty, they said, will fall to cops on routine patrol.

‘Training Insufficient’

“We do not feel that the training is sufficient, that the officers in the street, the first responding police cars that you will see, are adequately equipped to deal with an active shooter—some­thing out of the ordinary that we’ve witnessed in France,” Mr. Mullins told the New York Observer. ”Are there teams that do this? Yes, there are. But they will not be the first cars on the scene.”

He said of patrol officers, “I almost feel like they are the canary in the coal mine and put themselves in a position to be sacrificed.”

An officer carrying only his 9-mm. service pistol could be easily overwhelmed if he or she responded to a terrorist attack, Mr. Mullins said. Officers would have to return to the precinct to obtain assault rifles, he continued. He said he was told about one instance in which three officers couldn’t get their keys to open a stationhouse heavy-weapons locker.

“I think there are some areas from within the department that we need to immediately improve,” he said. “We cannot continue to address the issue of terrorism with a hope and a prayer.”

NYPD: Ideas ‘Impractical’

Stephen Davis, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, responded, “It is both unnecessary and impractical for every single police officer walking the beat or on routine patrol to be armed with heavy, assault-type weapons.”

Captains’ Endowment Association President Roy Richter concurred, telling the Daily News, “Policing in New York is not one-dimensional, and equipping a responding sector car with an assault weapon is neither practical nor helpful in the day-to-day responsibilities of our patrol force.”

“The NYPD has what is widely regarded as the best active-shooter response capability of any major US police department. We are confident that we have established the appropriate level of preparedness to deal with potential active-shooter incidents.”

He said terrorism issues can be handled by Emergency Service Units, “which are highly trained to provide special-weapons-and-tactics coverage [and] are assigned on all tours in all boroughs of the city,” as well as the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Group.

The Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, conducted by the Muslim terrorist group ISIS, killed 130 people.