The New York Police Department will create a unit of 350 specially trained officers dedicated to counterterrorism efforts, says Commissioner William Bratton, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bratton also promised to ramp up neighborhood policing by requiring that officers from the city's 77 precincts spend more time in communities. The plan would result in a reduction in officers assigned to specialty roles and increase the number of patrol officers.
The move comes as the commissioner, in his second year under Mayor Bill de Blasio, tries to improve relations between officers and some communities after high-profile incidents, including the death of Eric Garner in July and the killing of two officers in Brooklyn in December. Bratton will meet with de Blasio to determine if the department can hire more officers. A senior police department official said, “It's clear more officers are needed….” The counterterrorism unit, the Strategic Response Group, is expected to begin operating within the next six months.