NYPD Police Anti-Terror Plan: Bill de Blasio Supports Commissioner's Plan to Train 350 Officers in High-Tech Weaponry
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is behind police Commissioner Bill Bratton's plan to train 350 officers in high-tech weaponry to deal with street protests that have swept the city in the last few months, according to a statement released to Fusion.
"The new patrol strategies announced by Commissioner Bratton yesterday embody the innovative approach to policing he is best known for," the statement read.
"At the outset of this administration, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton committed to moving the NYPD in a new direction marked by more effective law enforcement strategies and a closer relationship between police and the communities that they serve, and the changes outlined by the Commissioner bring us closer to fulfilling that promise."
The New York Police Department is planning to launch the unit of 350 cops to handle both protests and counterterrorism, according to the New York Post.
Officers would be provided with vehicles that have machine guns and riot gear in the new plan that is scheduled to be in effect within the next few months.
The unit will be assigned to the Counterterrorism Bureau.
Commissioner Bratton said, "It will be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and the machine guns that are unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances."
He added that the new unit "will be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not."
The Strategic Response Group will be trained to control demonstrations that occurred after the Eric Garner grand jury decision and other events like the recent terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo building in Paris.
Activists and observers are criticizing the plan to issue a new unit saying it represents an unacceptable militarization of the city's police force.
The plan is "the definition of militarized mission creep," tweeted Alex Vitale, Brooklyn College sociologist and The Nation contributor.