More than a thousand graduates of the NYPD class of 2015 took the oath of office at Madison Square Garden, and immediately got a reminder about the challenges of their new jobs.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the graduates they stand on the front line against domestic terrorism. “I encourage you to build bridges to the communities in this city that the Islamic state is attempting to target for recruitment. ‘If you see something, say something’ must be part of your constant message,” he said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told graduates that he considers this class the generation that closes the divide between the police department and the community. And he said the city has armed them with technology and “cutting-edge information to do your job every day.”
The city invested in iPads, smart phones, tablets and something called ShotSpotter that allows police to pinpoint where gun shots come from. They will also have the latest bulletproof vests.
Commission William Bratton welcomed the new officers, who swell the ranks to 36,000. He said, “I pledge to take care of you, to give you the resources and training that you need, because I am a cop, too.”
The 1,123 new police officers will hit the streets on New Year’s Eve as a force of 6,000 patrols the Times Square area. The crowd, estimated to reach one million, presents a challenge for the city. But at a news conference to discuss the city’s readiness, Chief of Department James O’Neill said, “Leave the worrying to the NYPD. People should feel safest this New Year’s Eve because we’re there.”
To that end, the NYPD bomb squad and a unit that specializes in chemical and biological threats will sweep hotels, parking lots and garages. They will also monitor the subways and close off key entrances and exits.
In addition, a special counterterrorism unit, newly created and trained to deal with emerging threats, will stand ready with 500 officers at or around Times Square to monitor the scene and respond to emergencies.