Armed vehicles equipped with riot gear and machine guns, as part of New York Police Department’s re-engineering plan to handle counterterrorism and protests, will be rolled out in the next few months.
This new Strategic Response Group (SRG) will contain around 350 officers, use vehicles equipped with military-style weapons and riot gear, and operate under the expressed goal of “advanced disorder control and counterterrorism protection.” The new elite group will respond to demonstrations and unrest see in the wake of the Eric Garner grand jury decision and Paris after the terror attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Commissioner Bill Bratton explained on Thursday that the SRG “will be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not.”
“It will be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and the machine guns that are unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.”
By creating the SRG, the NYPD should no longer have to pull cops from their regular assignments when additional police presence is needed after a “critical incident.”
The SRG, expected to be in full operation by summer, will be assigned to the Counterterrorism Bureau.