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NYPD’s elite unit trains for real world threats

Story & photos By David Moore
USASA-Fort Dix Staff Writer

For New York City first responders, where the terrorist threat remains high since 911 World Trade Center attacks, training for the real world scenario or preventing it is paramount.

About 50 police officers, investigators, aviators, and a surgeon, of the New York City Police Department Emergency Service unit recently came to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in May to conduct field training and test their skills in the event of a crisis.

The elite multi-disciplined unit personnel provides specialized support and advanced equipment to NYPD units in such areas as special weapons and tactics, hostage situations, water rescues, high angle rescues and emergency medical treatment. They spent a week of training on ranges qualifying on weapons, rehearsing different real-world scenarios until the final day when they conducted a force-on-force culminating exercise to release hostages from a hotel using ground, air and medical assets.

Police officers and investigators trained at the U.S. Army Activity-Fort Dix Combined Arms Training Facility, designed to offer structural facilities to practice and execute realistic scenarios similar to those officers or military personnel will face during a crisis. This training focused on dealing with an active-shooter situation.

“This training event is all about movement, communications and the use of tactical medics in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon Bombing, Police Lt. Kenneth Beatty, officer in charge of ESU training, said.

Dr. Charles Martinez, a surgeon and chief of tactical medicine with ESU, explained the training facilities being used allow for the medical treatment and care portion of the exercise to be pushed to a higher level.

“For example, the officer may be able to provide medical care in an open area, but more than likely they may find themselves operating in a tight space-a challenging task when they are wearing their gear and carrying a weapon,” Martinez said.

“We want to instill in the officers if we can immediately control and stop the hemorrhaging, the chances of survival are at the highest as a result of lessons learned from Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently the Boston Marathon Bombing,” he added.

As ESU officers were given the scenario, they established their plan and conducted safety checks. Some boarded the ESU helicopter or into the up-armored tactical vehicle known as the BearCat. Two rotations of forces gathered to fast rope onto a roof top or enter the building from the ground.
During the operation, the simulated chaos of machine gun fire from other buildings also ensued and there was even an officer reported as ‘down’ as a result of a gunshot wound. Under simulated fire, a team rushed to protect and treat the officers’ wound using a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Then the officers evacuated the injured to a safe environment using their tactical vehicle as a block with additional available officers.

While the training event certainly was designed using a script, officers said they could never get enough training in their field such as how to safely turn a corner in the dark for protection. The training reduces mistakes in real world events, Det. Robert Goldstein said.

“You can have a script for realistic training since it focuses on doing the correct individual technique properly and develop your instinctive reflex. These scripts don’t direct every turn in the building where someone who wants to do you harm is hiding-that’s good. In the real world the criminal isn’t working off a script,” Goldstein added.

The commander of the elite unit was also on hand to oversee the training. Vincent Giordano, a deputy chief of the New York Police Department, said the training area with its various different sized buildings, trains, and other community government-like structures and commercial businesses are valuable training assets to make any training scenario realist.

“The capabilities to use our aviation and ground entry teams is a great realistic environment is always good since it allows for an atmosphere of real life,” Giordano said.

Click thumbnails for hi-res images

New York City Police Officers and investigators of the Emergency Service Unit move into position to block sniper gun fire to protect a police officer suffering simulated injuries from a gunshot wound

New York City Police Officers and investigators of the Emergency Service Unit move into position to block sniper gun fire to protect a police officer suffering simulated injuries from a gunshot wound.

The New York City Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit aviation personnel provide support for officers to fast rope to the rooftop of a simulated hotel at USASA-Fort Dix facility located at the Range 59 training complex.

The New York City Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit aviation personnel provide support for officers to fast rope to the rooftop of a simulated hotel at USASA-Fort Dix facility located at the Range 59 training complex.


Dr. Charles Martinez, a surgeon and chief of tactical medicine with the New York Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit ESU, works with officers during officer down scenario in treating hemorrhaging from a gunshot wound using a tourniquet.