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Hochul announces completion of more than 1,000 joint counterterrorism exercises across state in 2022


Fri, Jan 27th 2023 10:30 am

State's counterterrorism teams conducted assessments and exercises at a variety of businesses, critical infrastructure sites and rail stations, will continue these efforts to enhance public safety in 2023 

√ Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Counter Terrorism conducted over 5,200 assessments & details with public safety partners across state since 2016

√ New Yorkers encouraged to be mindful of their surroundings and report suspicious activity to the state's counterterrorism tip line at 1-866-SAFE-NYS

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Counter Terrorism conducted training exercises at more than 1,000 locations statewide in 2022, partnering with New York State Police and counterterrorism experts from more than 80 state and local law enforcement agencies in assessing the ability of retail businesses and mass-gathering sites to recognize and report suspicious activity in nearly every county in the state.

More than 5,200 of these exercises have been conducted across New York since 2016. DHSES Office of Counter Terrorism staff also completed dozens of NY-SECURE transit details in 2022 to remind travelers of the importance of “See Something, Say Something.”

"By utilizing these critical counterterrorism exercises at over 1,000 locations, we are helping educate New Yorkers across the state on how to spot suspicious activity and report it to law enforcement, as well as enhance security measures," Hochul said. "Keeping all New Yorkers safe is my No. 1 priority, and I thank DHSES, State Police and our public safety partners across the state for their continued support of these important programs that safeguard the public."

Hochul’s team said, “Public safety teams across the state conducted exercises involving over 450 law enforcement personnel in each of the state's 16 counterterrorism zones. As part of this process, teams assessed suspicious activity reporting and recognition at 842 retailers and businesses that sell chemicals, compounds, components, services, or rent space or resources that could be exploited by those with nefarious intent. Additionally, teams assessed more than 180 infrastructure locations across the state, including stadiums and arenas, malls and shopping centers, colleges and universities, airports, transit hubs and other mass-gathering locations.

“Engagement with these stakeholders has increased public vigilance and suspicious activity reporting. Since the state-coordinated effort launched in 2016, suspicious activity reporting has increased 20%, resulting in additional reports of unusual activity to the NYS terrorism tips line.”

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray. "The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and DHSES is committed to working with our agency partners across the state to ensure the public knows how to identify suspicious activity and report it. Every New Yorker has a role to play: ‘If you See Something, Say Something.’ "

State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, "These exercises are not only critical in making sure the New York State Police and our agency partners are prepared to respond to a terroristic threat as effectively and efficiently as possible, but they are imperative in educating the public on how to be aware of their surroundings, and the role they can play in keeping our state and communities safe. As a unified front, our efforts are stronger as we work together to prevent and mitigate such attacks."

DHSES also partnered with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in "Operation NY-SECURE" to conduct counterterrorism and incident response details along Amtrak routes and MTA commuter lines. Hochul’s team said, “These details help improve coordination and response between the railroad police agencies responsible for each station, and the state and local law enforcement agencies that respond to emergencies at those locations. These visible, unannounced details included heightened platform patrols, increased security presence onboard trains, explosive detection canine sweeps and countersurveillance measures.

“In 2022, Operation NY-SECURE completed 84 details across the state. Teams conducted 72 single station details across the state, and 12 multistation details at Amtrak and MTA stations along the Empire Line. Since the program's inception in 2018, law enforcement teams have conducted 322 details across the state. These details will continue in 2023.

“DHSES also offers educational materials, resources and guidance for appropriately reporting suspicious activity for the public, the statewide terrorism tips hotline (866-723-3697) and accepts tips online.”

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters and other emergencies. For more information, find DHSES on Facebook, on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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