NYPD’s Critical Response Command Faces Potential Personnel Cuts
Edited by: TJVNews.com
The New York Police Department (NYPD) is considering significant personnel cuts to its Critical Response Command (CRC), a specialized unit within the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau. This unit, which plays a crucial role in responding to highly organized and heavily armed attacks, may face a reduction of up to 75% of its personnel, raising concerns about its ability to fulfill its counterterrorism mission effectively, according to a report in the New York Post.
Deputy Chief Scott Shanley, commanding officer of the Critical Response Command, issued an internal memo warning unit members about the potential downsizing of the CRC by as much as 75%, as was reported by the Post. This revelation has raised concerns about the impact on both the unit’s capabilities and the personal lives of its members. Of the 300 officers assigned to the CRC, approximately 240 could be reassigned to street-level patrols to address staffing needs in other commands, including the forthcoming 116th Precinct in Queens, scheduled to open next spring, the Post report added.
In response to these reports, an NYPD spokesman clarified that the department had not committed to restructuring the specialized unit or any others.
“The NYPD regularly reviews personnel allocations and considers bolstering resources in various areas whenever it is deemed advantageous to our public safety mission,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Tarik Sheppard said in a statement Wednesday, according to the Post report.
“We have not committed to altering the size of any unit, and certainly do not plan to modify components of our intelligence and counterterrorism apparatus during the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly,” Sheppard added.
The Post report indicated that the NYPD emphasized its periodic review of personnel allocations to ensure public safety but did not confirm plans to modify the CRC’s size or its intelligence and counterterrorism functions. It was also noted that any changes would not occur during the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly, which is a time of heightened security concerns in New York City.
The Critical Response Command, described as a “permanent cadre of hand-selected police officers devoted to counterterrorism,” was established eight years ago with 500 officers and supervisors, the Post reported. Its primary mission is to respond swiftly to potential terrorist threats and protect high-profile events in New York City. The Post report noted that these events include the US Open, New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, the West Village Halloween parade, Fleet Week, and visits by presidents and dignitaries.
The unit’s presence alone is seen as a deterrent to potential attackers. The Post report said that over its eight-year existence, there have been no terrorist attacks within New York City, suggesting the unit’s effectiveness in deterring threats. Its officers are trained in special weapons and long-range firearms, explosive trace detection, radiological and nuclear awareness, and biological and chemical weapons awareness.
When not assigned to specific events, CRC officers can be found outside key locations like the Israeli Consulate, the Diamond District, the Intrepid, Penn Station, Grand Central Station, and various courthouses, as was reported by the Post. Their ability to rapidly deploy to emerging situations has been a vital component of New York City’s counterterrorism strategy.
The potential reduction of CRC personnel from 300 to just 60 officers, along with the downsizing of supervisory staff from 60 to 10, raises concerns about the unit’s ability to respond effectively to terrorist threats and high-profile events, as was noted in the Post report. The timeline for these personnel changes remains unclear, leaving both unit members and the public in uncertainty.
A cop who used to work in the CRC bemoaned that the drastic restructuring would happen less than a decade after the unit was formed, the Post report said.
“What other city starts a counterterrorism unit with 500 cops 8 years ago, touted as an elite group able to move all over the city at a moments notice if needed, and now it’s shutting down when terrorists are flowing into the country at will?” the source griped.
A recently-retired CRC supervisor told The Post, “there is no exact way to say if our unit deterred terrorist attacks. However, in the eight years since our inception, there were no terrorist attacks.
“When people see heavily armed police officers standing in front of the location, it is obvious they would think twice about attacking that address,” the source also told the Post.
Additionally, the planned relocation of 18 K-9 units to a facility on Randall’s Island, originally intended for use by the CRC, may be impacted by the proposed cuts, the Post reported. Instead, narcotics officers or members of the Emergency Service Unit could utilize these police dogs.
The CRC had recently received upgraded equipment, including heavy bulletproof vests for the US Open Tennis Championships, which concluded in September. However, plans to provide the unit with new helmets have been canceled, potentially affecting their readiness, the report added.
The unit’s track record in deterring terrorist attacks and protecting high-profile events underscores its importance in safeguarding New York City.