PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- A week after the terrorist attacks on Paris, the New York Police Department and New York Transit conducted an active shooter exercise Nov. 22 at Bowery Subway Station in Lower Manhattan.
Participating agencies included the NYPD Counterterrorism Division, New York Transit Police, Official Fire Department City of New York (FDNY), U.S. Secret Service New York Office, Federal Air Marshalls of New York, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology, and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center or ARDEC.
"The attacks in Paris obviously highlighted the significance of these exercises," said John Hedderich, director of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center or ARDEC. The engineering center at Picatinny Arsenal is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
Picatinny personnel provided planning, oversight and management of the technical efforts associated with the active shooter exercise.
"ARDEC and Picatinny Arsenal are a national resource committed to not only the Army, but support to all of the other agencies, like NYPD and FDNY, who can benefit from our resident capabilities," said Hedderich.
"This exercise was planned months in advance, and required extensive coordination between multiple agencies," said Ray Carr, director of the ARDEC Fusion Cell, which focuses on bringing ARDEC capabilities to bear on near-term emerging threats to warfighters around the world. It also has a priority initiative to support interagency users in New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area.
Among the persons who were present at the exercise were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson, and Chief of Counterterrorism James R. Waters.
Beginning at 6 a.m., the first drill simulated an active shooter on a subway platform with several people shot, including an NYPD officer.
Although the drills were planned prior to the attacks in Paris, they were updated, with officials adding an attacker wearing a suicide vest to the scenario.
PICATINNY PROVIDES TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES
During the exercise, Picatinny Arsenal personnel collected data for evaluation and also provided assessment of technologies that could assist law enforcement or first responders in the conduct of their missions.
"We put some great people with unique talents on this job, and provided NYPD and FDNY information that they never got before during a training exercise," said Hedderich.
Picatinny Arsenal support included providing real-time video feedback to leaders, evaluators, and observers in two observation areas and in an incident command vehicle. The New Equipment Training (NET) Team and Target Behavioral Research Lab (TBRL) provided the technical support with engineers, scientists and technicians.
More than 50 camera were utilized to run video display in the VIP trailer, capture the footage and analyze the officers' and first responders' behavior.
Some cameras were personally worn by first responders and active shooters, some mounted throughout the subway platform and in train cars covering all the movement of the active shooter event, and some used as follow cameras to capture the various first responder teams as they completed the exercise as well as transmitting video coverage back to the Incident Command Post and VIP tent.
ARDEC provided a team of experts to gather data through video and tracking technologies which allows evaluation of the first responders.
The behavioral research lab provided expertise in the analysis of individual, squad and crowd behavior typically used in the evaluation of various force-protection technologies for the military. In the New York exercise, the expertise was applied to evaluation of law enforcement individual and team performance under stress.
The data collected will be analyzed by the trainers and behavioral research scientists at Picatinny, in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program guidebook provided by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
The results of the analysis will be used to assess the ability of the NYPD and other participants to meet exercise objectives and capabilities, and to suggest areas for improvement and corrective actions.
"This type of DHS-sponsored exercise provides us a great opportunity to transition technology and knowledge that make our local community safer," said Hedderich. "I couldn't be happier with the teamwork and performance."
The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.