NEW YORK —
In the aftermath of last week's attacks in Beirut and Paris, New York City is deploying a specially equipped “critical response command” to protect the city and thwart future organized acts of terror. The 500 officers assigned to the unit have been trained to prevent both lone wolf and coordinated multiple attacks.
New Yorkers have rallied to France’s side. On Monday, they honored those who lost their lives with a rendition of ‘La Marseillaise,’ the French national anthem, during a somber ceremony at New York’s 9/11 memorial.
Bertrand Lortholary, the consul general of France, was in attendance and called Friday’s attacks the deadliest on French soil since World War II.
“It was an act of war. Today, France is at war,” he said.
City leaders, meanwhile, held a ceremony of their own, announcing the deployment of a special unit of 500 police officers and eight K9 dogs, tasked to protect the city and strengthen its counterterrorism efforts.
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“With this new critical response command, we can say more certainly than ever before that no city in America is better prepared to defend against terrorism, no city is better prepared to respond to terrorism than New York City,” said mayor Bill de Blasio.
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton boasted about the capabilities of the special unit—equipped with M4 semiautomatic weapons and enhanced smartphone technology— in its ability to gather intelligence and prevent attacks, as well as to run toward danger when necessary.
“They have been trained and will receive continuous, expanding training on dealing with active shooter scenarios, such as we just recently witnessed in Paris, France, so that we will have at any given time, 100-some odd of these officers on duty in the city,” said Bratton.
Bratton said the unit's forces must not only be focused on significant tourist destinations, such as Times Square, but also on “soft targets,” such as restaurants and concert venues, as demonstrated in last week’s tragedies. He said that by June 2016, the city will have added 2,000 additional police officers, capable of dealing with up to two dozen simultaneous attacks in the city.