The team of police officers crisscrosses down a New York City block, bracing for a potential firefight with heavily armed suspects who have taken hostages inside a building.
“We know there are hostages in there,” Lt. Kenneth Beatty warns while supervising the operation. “The number’s unknown.”
It’s not real, but it’s not a standard training session, either.
Local authorities believe New York City could be a potential target of militants trained and supplied as well as those who staged coordinated attacks in Mumbai last November, and New York Police Department leaders are determined not to be outgunned.
“Terrorists are thinking creatively about new tactics,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last week at a City Council public safety hearing. “So must we.”
The largest U.S. police department launched a counterterrorism initiative this month to train a new team of officers with semiautomatic rifles loaded with armor-piercing bullets.
The officers also are being trained in tactics for close quarters combat and rescuing hostages in hotels and other high-rise buildings.
After the three-day assault in Mumbai on luxury hotels, a Jewish center and other sites in November left 164 people dead, the NYPD dispatched investigators to India to see if there were any security lessons for New York.