2016-07-27 / Front Page

Cops With Long Guns Posted Outside Queens Precincts

By Liz Goff
NYPD officials sent a “FINEST” message on July 18, advising precinct commanders that officers in protective gear, armed with machine guns and high-powered rifles would be posted outside stationhouses to ramp up protection for cops.

Queens police officers remain on high alert this week, following unprovoked attacks in Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that left eight ops dead and five others in critical condition.

NYPD officials have beefed up security at stationhouses throughout Queens, including the 114th Precinct, posting two armored officers at precinct entrances and reinstalling terror-proof barricades outside stationhouse perimeters. Two officers will guard stationhouses 7 days a week, 24-hours a day until further notice, police officials said.

Police officials said there are no credible threats to city cops, but dispatched officers assigned to the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Group to provide “another layer of protection” at local precincts.

Police sources said the FINEST message was dispatched to precinct commanders on July 18. Supervisors ordered rank-and file officers at roll call on July 18 to, “remain on the job after their original tours were completed, as necessary, to beef-up police presence as a precaution, the sources said.

Officers were again ordered to patrol only in pairs and to stay together at all times - even during meal breaks the sources said. Cops are also being urged to “think tactfully” while dealing with the public during the current threat of violence against police,

“Officers should remain alert at all times while in uniform and remain alert especially when members of the public approach them,” police officials said. “Officers should also avoid creating patterns in patrols that could appear predictable,” the message read.

NYPD officials ordered cops to take the same precautions following the execution-style murders of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn in December 2014.

“We unfortunately had our own experience,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said. “So one of the things we always take seriously are threats against our officers.”

NYPD officials also suspended patrols by volunteer members of the Auxiliary Police Department. The unarmed Auxiliary officers are routinely assigned to patrol commercial strips, festivals, parades, etc. “They don’t want the unarmed, uniformed auxiliaries on the street under the present circumstances,” a police source said.

The NYPD has received more than 50 threats targeting officers since the July 7 massacre in Dallas, police officials said. At least 17 of those threats were received within a two-hour period on July 8, and none of the threats are considered credible, police said.

Bratton said the change in NYPD tactics was made out of an “abundance of caution.”

Police union officials sent a similar message to cops, urging them to travel in pairs on patrol and on meal breaks as a means of added security. Union officials also urged cops to avoid driving alone, to always carry their off-duty weapon and to avoid wearing clothing or jewelry while off-duty that might identify them as police officers.

 

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