NYPD and counterterrorism
| 07.25.2005 | 12:49:42 | Views: 3483 | ID:
July 25 '05: The job of protecting the nation's cities and small towns against the threat of a terrorist attack is an essential step in the war on terror. Recently, an article in the New Yorker Magazine highlighted the efforts by the New York City Police Department's commissioner Ray Kelly to strengthen his city's defenses against the threat of another attack in the light of this month's attacks in London and Egypt.
An interview with the writer of the article, William Finnegan, expounds on the changes the department has undergone in a reformation to address the threat, how the relationship between the city, the state and the federal government will evolve, and what more can be done in order to make sure all that needs to be in place to protect the public is being done.Finnegan said of the personnel changes inside the department that "Before 9/11, the NYPD has fewer than two dozen officers working the terrorism beat full time. Today, there are about a thousand. ... There are NYPD detectives permanently stationed overseas, for instance, in half a dozen countries." Finnegan said efforts by Ray Kelly, the Commissioner of the department to bring in help from non-traditional law enforcement agencies and other intelligence bodies have, "gone way outside ... looking for people with military, intelligence and diplomatic backgrounds, people with deep knowledge of international terrorist organizations." In addition to recruitment efforts, Kelly's expansion into the intelligence gathering and covert operations work in the world of terrorism has not seemed to clash with federal intelligence agencies. Finnegan said in fact there are advantages to having the NYPD investigate terrorism cases. One example is because New York is such a diverse area, those working on the force with the knowledge of such languages as Farsi, Arabic, Pashto and other languages give the department an edge the federal government has not acquired. Upon looking at the force, the NYPD found that it has "thousands of officers, many of them originally from the Middle East, who were native-level speakers of dozens of foreign languages," Finnegan said. "A lot of those people were writing to get into something more challenging. The NYPD's employment-application form now lists sixty languages that the department is interested in."
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