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New Operation to Put Heavily Armed Officers in Subways

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New Operation to Put Heavily Armed Officers in Subways

By AL BAKER

NY Times

Published: February 2, 2008

 

02machinegun_600.jpg

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Counterterrorism teams like these city detectives armed with M-4 rifles

will patrol the subways.

 

In the first counterterrorism strategy of its kind in the nation, roving teams of New York City police officers armed with automatic rifles and accompanied by bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the city’s subway system daily, beginning next month, officials said on Friday.

 

Under a tactical plan called Operation Torch, the officers will board trains and patrol platforms, focusing on sites like Pennsylvania Station, Herald Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center and Times Square in Manhattan, and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

 

Officials said the operation would begin in March.

 

Financing for the program will be funneled to the Police Department and will come from a pool of up to $30 million taken from $153.2 million in new federal transit grants to the state.

 

Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced the grants at a news conference on Friday at Grand Central Terminal, where Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly outlined his plans to add a layer of security to the city’s 24-hour transit system.

 

Mr. Kelly’s plan to heighten security and monitor a subway system that carries nearly five million people a day along 656 miles of tracks reflects the city’s continuing concerns about a possible attack.

 

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, police patrols increased in the subways, particularly at the entrances to the 16 underwater tunnels. As terrorists have hit rail systems around the world, the police in New York have reacted with strategies tailored to thwart similar attacks.

 

For instance, after the bombings of three trains and a bus in London on July 7, 2005, police officials in New York took steps to protect the city’s subways, including random inspections of train riders’ backpacks and packages, a program that continues today.

 

“New York remains at the top of the terrorist target list, and mass transit remains a concern because it has been targeted many times around the world,” Mr. Kelly said in a statement released by his chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne. “There have been several thwarted plots against New York’s subway system as well.”

 

Each team in the operation will comprise a bomb-sniffing dog and six officers: a dog handler and a sergeant and four officers from the Emergency Service Unit who will be outfitted in heavy, bullet-resistant vests and Kevlar helmets and will carry automatic weapons, either an M-4 rifle or an MP5 submachine gun.

 

The officers will work in shifts of 12 hours to provide as much coverage of the subway system as possible, Mr. Browne said.

 

Officers with high-powered rifles have patrolled sensitive sites above ground in New York, like the Empire State Building, and have guarded subway entrances after attacks in other cities, but have never made daily patrols. .

 

Michael A. L. Balboni, the state’s deputy secretary for public safety, said that since May, National Guardsmen armed with automatic rifles have patrolled the platforms of the PATH train system in New York and in New Jersey.

 

Mr. Balboni said that having heavily armed city officers routinely patrol the subways was an important first step.

 

But more broadly, he said, linking security plans for the disparate rail systems in the metropolitan region was “key in securing additional funding from the Department of Homeland Security.” He said that Mr. Chertoff praised the state for collaborating across geographic regions, since transit systems in New Jersey and Connecticut would also be affected.

 

“Going forward, the New York metropolitan transit system is getting a $50 million increase over last year’s funding for transit security,” Mr. Balboni said. “What we did was pull together eight agencies, three states and a multitude of police agencies to come up with regional funding priorities.”

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Hey yo, them dudes need to put down them guns yo. They be holding it up sometimes and the scares the $h!t out of someone man.

 

For real, they can put an eye out or worst.....

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Hey yo, them dudes need to put down them guns yo. They be holding it up sometimes and the scares the $h!t out of someone man.

 

For real, they can put an eye out or worst.....

 

True Man! Last time I saw them on a mode of Transportation ( not a Hub or Terminal ), I was on the Staten Island Ferry; December of 2006. Those weapons are frightening up close!

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Well, hey if they are frightening,yes blah blah it will scare the public,but it does show force,and if something bad were to happen they would be prepared rather than just have a random patrol officer and his 9mm trying to take down a heavily armed suspect it just don't work.And I'm sure they have the safety on all the time,unless of course they are going into supposidly hostile situation. But it is sad to think that nowa days it takes a SWAT team or riot officers at stations to make us feel "safe"

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. But it is sad to think that nowa days it takes a SWAT team or riot officers at stations to make us feel "safe"

 

Unfortunately

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If that's what it takes to fight the threat of terrorist activity, I'm all for it.

 

However, it doesn't seem like that's their motive. This appears to be a fear-imposing tactic, not a genuine effort at counterterrorism.

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If that's what it takes to fight the threat of terrorist activity, I'm all for it.

 

However, it doesn't seem like that's their motive. This appears to be a fear-imposing tactic, not a genuine effort at counterterrorism.

 

Well its a step forward,Like I said before you can't expect a normal patrol officer to take down a group of terrorists with his 9mm,It just won't happen case chances are if they wanted to do real damage they would be heavily armed and the standard 9mm would do squat.If a team like they showed in the pic came across them,there would be a higher chance of the terrorists being taken down with the high powered rifles and possibly more lifes saved because of the of their "Special Weapons And Tactics" training. Although you can't call upon the SWAT teams and the riot police to do everything,its certainly a lot better than just having the regular beat patrol doing it.But the ultimate step would to place a squad of US Army reserves or National Guard at all stations,which is no small task.

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Some people may agree with you and some will not ...it will all depends on how ones looked at it. I happen to be one who disagreed. The concept of Armed Officer carrying M-4 rifles in New York City subways is in fact a scary thought for the commuters. The best way to fight terrorism as I understand it to be is through proper intelligence .....what I mean is to know the intention of the terrorist before he commits himself to the terror. Any other way will create panics, disturbance of peace and attention. On the contrary, the very presence of the Armed Officers in the subway is an advantage for the terrorist. We do not want terrorist finger pointing are Armed Officers .....this is why intelligence and under cover operation works best. We should also be aware that most people who commits themselves to these terrorist acts are determine to die for it. Therefore, it must be understood that these people will not be intimidate by Heavily Armed Officers. It is impossible to such and have dogs sniff every individual who commutes from the various subway lines ....and all you need for an incident to occur is one terrorist to pass through ....so what purpose will these Armed Officers serve beside intimidation.

 

"Financing for the program will be funneled to the Police Department and will come from a pool of up to $30 million taken from $153.2 million in new federal transit grants to the state." You don't actually believe that do you? How will their get back that money? .....so what are we talking about here ...another fair hike. I don't think the people of the city will go for that ......if the MTA invest its money in it their will have to raise the fair to compensate.

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Give us the a false sense of security,but however say that we go by your method since they are kinda used in conjunction,there is still that BIG chance that they slip through correct? Who do you think would be the first responders? The heavily armed officers why because they will already be there at the station or just outside,rather than waiting for the call to go in and hope that the rest of the emergencey crews get there within a good time frame,having them there can infact save lives more lives,if they use both of the methods in conjuntion the correct way.

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You right NJT .....in either case, there are a big chance of these terrorist slipping through. First lets be clear of something NJT ....intelligence and under cover operation is far from a false sense of fighting terrorism. It is through intelligence that we have managed to keep track of some terrorist groups. It is the under cover who speak Arabic who can manage to infiltrate a terrorist group ...not that I'm assuming all Arabs are terrorist ....it is just an example. Nonetheless, lets go back to your premise. I argued that Heavily Armed Officers in our NYC subways does not justified the mis comfort of our citizens. Since there are a big chance of terrorist slipping through in either case, why have them at all. You stated that their can minimize the chances of a greater catastrophe. Yes it could if this was a war zone but it is not ....I don't think you forecast the possibilities of a terrorist act. You only have three possibilities 1) an explosion 2) a chemical weapon 3) the least risky a machine gun ......out of those three the only threat you can minimize here is the machine gun. Would you say you need a heavily harmed officer to minimize that threat? ....well, the answer is no ....it takes one bullet to kill a person not two. Would you say this is a job that our MTA transit caps can not handle?

 

I still don't see why we're investing in heavy artilleries ....specially if its going to cost our citizens. We already on the edge of a recession why add more stress....

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You right NJT .....in either case, there are a big chance of these terrorist slipping through. First lets be clear of something NJT ....intelligence and under cover operation is far from a false sense of fighting terrorism. It is through intelligence that we have managed to keep track of some terrorist groups. It is the under cover who speak Arabic who can manage to infiltrate a terrorist group ...not that I'm assuming all Arabs are terrorist ....it is just an example. Nonetheless, lets go back to your premise. I argued that Heavily Armed Officers in our NYC subways does not justified the mis comfort of our citizens. Since there are a big chance of terrorist slipping through in either case, why have them at all. You stated that their can minimize the chances of a greater catastrophe. Yes it could if this was a war zone but it is not ....I don't think you forecast the possibilities of a terrorist act. You only have three possibilities 1) an explosion 2) a chemical weapon 3) the least risky a machine gun ......out of those three the only threat you can minimize here is the machine gun. Would you say you need a heavily harmed officer to minimize that threat? ....well, the answer is no ....it takes one bullet to kill a person not two. Would you say this is a job that our MTA transit caps can not handle?

 

I still don't see why we're investing in heavy artilleries ....specially if its going to cost our citizens. We already on the edge of a recession why add more stress....

 

I understand whee you are trying tog et at,just fine,however if there is a guy that has a machine gun and has body armor(if they really want to do any kind of damage) then those transit cops are USELESS there bullets will just bounce off and since not a lot of officers never have to fire the guns they arent always 100% accurate in shooting espicelly if the target is wearing body armor and only small parts of the body are vulnerable,just like in that hollywood shootout,with the bank etc.....and if it is a chemical weapon yes they can't do anything(meaning the heavily armed police officers)but if there is an explosion guess what they will be there to help rescue the dang people and start getting the people out sooner,meaning they could possibly save more lives!

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If I'm not mistaken, I believe you said ....I understand where you are trying to get at ....I'm I right "I understand whee you are trying tog et at" If that's what you said than you must be mistaking me for some kind of informer. Not at all NJT I'm no better than you .....as a matter of fact I'm worst you have a job I don't ....I'm just a regular citizen who has a good understanding of our environment ....that's all ...nothing else. I know in this time we live in some people have been retrieved from being on the list of terrorist which had no business being there in the first place ...but I guaranty you this far from that.

 

All I want you to understand is that the M-4 rifles are truly not necessary in our subway lines. There are hand guns that are more powerful than the M-4 rifles ...so then why not go with those. Those hand guns can do more damage to a body armor than the M-4 rifle. Let me remind you that you forgotten the the MTA under cover officer who could be on the same car as the terrorist. Let me also open your mind to another view. At the very end of cowardliness exist courage. When people's life are threaten their can commit the most heroic act. That is why rubbers insert fair in their victims hart but will not frighten their life .....because at the moment someone his afraid of their life their will fight back.

 

I think you got the point now ......the terrorist with the machine gun would barely kill 15 people ......and that's if the train is not crowded ....if it is crowded like around 4:30 pm at Wall Street that terrorist can kiss his a$$ good-bye.

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All I want you to understand is that the M-4 rifles are truly not necessary in our subway lines. There are hand guns that are more powerful than the M-4 rifles ...so then why not go with those. Those hand guns can do more damage to a body armor than the M-4 rifle. Let me remind you that you forgotten the the MTA under cover officer who could be on the same car as the terrorist. Let me also open your mind to another view. At the very end of cowardliness exist courage. When people's life are threaten their can commit the most heroic act. That is why rubbers insert fair in their victims hart but will not frighten their life .....because at the moment someone his afraid of their life their will fight back.

 

That is 100% true however which do you think instells more fear and shows power? A handgun or a M-4.

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The M-4 without a doubt ......but that's not the issue in question. The issue is that the M-4 would frighten the commuters while serving no true purpose. As far as the terrorist is concern, it wouldn't cause any effects. They will still go with their plain no mater what ....as I mentioned before ......these people are ready to die for a cause. You can not fight a group of people who are willing to place their life on the line for a cause which their believe in ...unless you yourself is determine to die for that cause. That is why the War in Iraq is unbeatable ......And we certainly don't want how Armed force militants to die for that cause .....before the War started, heating oil price was $1.25 during the War it has risen $1.25 - $3.25 ......Its economics the War is not in the interest of the American people ...if it was our lives would be much better.

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