In winding hallways and stuffy rooms of an old factory, a new New York City police unit prepares, over and over again, for the attack it knows is coming, the New York Times reports. Officers comb the highest floor of the building, looking for witnesses to point them to the right door and listening for gunshots like those that have echoed all over the world. They are conducting exercises to help them hunt down an “active shooter.” “It’s going to happen,” said Chief James Waters, who leads the police Counterterrorism Bureau. “Something like Orlando’s going to happen.”
Last year, police created a heavily armed and armored unit called the Critical Response Command. Teams of officers work all over the city and are trained to respond to many locations in three to five minutes. They are a new response to a new threat. Gone are the days when the first officers on a scene set up a perimeter and waited for backup or a hostage-negotiation team. The perpetrators of the most recent wave of mass shootings — Paris; San Bernardino, and Orlando — were not interested in taking hostages and negotiating. They came to kill for the sake of killing. These officers are trained to find and stop them. Waters allowed the Times to watch the training. “This is seven months of work,” he said, standing before a team of officers in bulletproof vests who were cradling Colt M4 semiautomatic rifles. “It’s incredible progress.” A photographer and videographer were forbidden to document the command as it moved in drills, and a reporter was asked to describe the tactics only broadly. Police believe terrorists study descriptions of police training in preparation for attacks.