Step into the NYPD’s in-depth training for active shooters in subways

When active shooter Frank James unleashed a torrent of terror in a Brooklyn subway station earlier this year, the senseless act of domestic terrorism left the city reeling. However, the NYPD was already working on new training measures to deal with eerily similar circumstances.

In a joint effort between the NYPD and the Department of Homeland Security, transit officers undergo rigorous and realistic training to deal with active shooter scenarios similar to the April 12 Brooklyn shooting.

The innovative program begins by training a dozen officers to deal with emergencies inside the transit system, before expanding the program over the next year. Using the FDNY training facility on Randall’s Island, officers are put through their paces inside a replica New York City subway station with a broken down train car.

amNewYork Metro was able to take a look at a recent active shooter exercise at the facility, as these officers prepared for the worst possible scenarios.

The team carries an injured man to safety. Photo of Dean Moses
The agents storm the platform. Photo by Dean Moses

“We are here today for a four-day training involving an active shooter. We are here with our partners from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. ‘operating in a subway environment,’ said Inspector Raymond Porteus, commanding officer of the Transit Bureau’s Special Operations Division.

While officers are already receiving active shooter training, the NYPD believes there are still many lessons to be learned regarding rapid response and the primary goal of ‘stop killing, stop dying’. .

The new lessons focus on the subway platforms and the cars themselves during an incident of a rampaging gunman or even an individual armed with a knife.

“The training was conducted by the transit office of our counter-terrorism unit. It was more prudent that we train them first. This will be ongoing training. All of our officers have active shooter training; however, it was a bit more specific to the metro environment and where the experts were going,” Porteus said.

The shooter is shot. Photo of Dean Moses
The NYPD boards a train during the exorcism. Photo by Dean Moses

To ensure quick and accurate responses, the scenarios are made as realistic as possible.

The actors play injured straphangers who beg for help and reach out to officers as they engage the shooter. Recordings of deafening screams and screams are played through overhead speakers. Smoke engulfed the train and platform, making visibility extremely low.

And perhaps most important of all, a suspect brandished a gun that fired a breathtaking blank.

“The reaction today was excellent and appropriate. So they immediately responded whether it was a stabbing or gunshots. Immediate response. They immediately stopped the killing. When they stopped killing, we transitioned to arresting the dying,” said CJ Taylor of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. “After we stopped the killing. We secured the suspect. They went and made the transitioning into tourniquets or chest seals, depending on the injury, that’s how they treated, and then what we did was the transition to get them into trauma care.

With active shooter formations like these, the NYPD believes they will be able to minimize damage to human life through unparalleled rapid response time and understanding of a given situation.

The NYPD moves in. Photo by Dean Moses
the shooter is handcuffed. Photo of Dean Moses
The injured straphangers are evacuated. Photo by Dean Moses

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