00:38 GMT +320 September 2019
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    The NYPD will add 450 officers to its counterterrorism division. But could that money be better spent elsewhere?

    US Cops to Fight ISIL? NYPD Chief Seeks 450 More Officers

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    As the world grapples with ways to counter the threat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, perhaps no one has been as proactive as New York City police chief Bill Bratton, who announced the NYPD will add 450 officers to its counterterrorism division.

    "We need to be very concerned about terrorism," Bratton said on the John Catsimatidis radio show. "That threat has expanded significantly in the now 16 months I’ve been police commissioner."

    Specifically, Bratton is concerned with the “significantly increased threat from ISIS,” and in order to mitigate that threat, has proposed to add new officers.

    "We’re treating that threat so seriously, I’m going to put another 450 police officers – if we get the approval to increase the size of the police force – and I need to do it very very quickly – into our counterterrorism operations…"

    Whether or not Bratton gets that approval from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office remains to be seen. The NYPD already employs 35,000 officers, and the mayor has indicated that he believes that number to be adequate.

    "This year…the NYPD is going to be a lot stronger than it was because it is going to be better trained than it was a year or two ago," de Blasio said, stressing that lower crime rates are an indicator that the police force’s numbers are adequate.

    Mayor de Blasio also stressed that new NYPD policy would allow officers to focus on higher-level crime.

    "[The NYPD] will have better technology and a lot more time and energy will be applied to getting guns off the streets and going after serious crime rather than unnecessary stops or arrests for low-level marijuana possession."

    As such, the mayor did not include room in his budget proposal for an increased NYPD headcount.

    While serious crime in New York City does seem to be in decline, incidents which occurred over this past weekend mean that shootings have increased by 8 percent so far this year over the same period in 2014. Homicides are up by 10 percent, and Bratton attributes those incidents largely to gang-related violence.

    Not the kind of crimes a counterterrorism force would combat.

    Still, Bratton’s call for new officers has some support from federal agencies who note that New York City is a major target for terrorist organizations.

    "The ISIS threat as referenced yesterday by Secretary of Homeland Security has morphed to new, terrible directions and we remain the number one terrorist target in the country," Bratton said.

    "We are entering a new era where we cannot live in fear," Bratton added. "This crazy hijacking of the Muslim religion by these fanatics, twisting it into an ideology that’s all about hate and murder and killing."


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    Daesh, counterterrorism, NYPD, Bill de Blasio, Bill Bratton, New York City, United States
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