Newly Trained, Uniformed NYPD Safety Teams Hit the Streets
By Yehudit Garmaise
Residents of New York City’s most dangerous neighborhoods are likely to feel as if the cavalry has arrived today, as the NYPD’s newly trained neighborhood safety teams are hitting the streets to provide visible police presences and extra patrols in the city’s neighborhoods with the highest numbers of shootings.
The revamped unit consists of 25 uniformed teams that are comprised of five officers led by one sergeant.
More units will be added as officers complete their seven-day tactical training, which the mayor has said was the key to the transformation of the anti-crime unit.
In the past, anti-crime unit officers were criticized for using policing tactics that were overly aggressive and abusive: in ways that paralleled George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, which sparked nationwide police protests.
In their training, the safety officers learned minimal force techniques, advanced tactics in de-escalation, communication skills, courtroom testimony training, and U.S. Constitutional policing, said NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey, who has overseen the new unit’s training.
“We had to take a look at the mistakes of the past, what we had to do to change,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
The safety teams head out not a moment too soon. New York City saw another violent weekend rife with shootings of homeless people, random stabbings, and grotesque attacks. In the last 12 months, incidents of violent crimes: including murders, assaults, hate crimes, and transit crimes have skyrocketed 47%.
Unlike the previous anti-crime unit’s officers, who were plainclothes police, the safety team officers are uniformed, but they will drive in unmarked cars: equipped with dashboard cameras.
“Their uniform on the back plainly states ‘NYPD Police,’” Commissioner Sewall said. “They are there for the safety of the community and to get the violent offenders off the streets.”
Photo by: Lensky Photo