by Genevieve Long for The Epoch Times
NEW YORK—With 32,000 police, the New York Police Department is the country’s largest police force and has been hardest-hit by terrorist attacks. It’s an operation that needs to have more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
One of these is the NYPD’s Intelligence Unit—an elite group of 600 officers and analysts stationed in New York City and throughout the world. The work of the unit, which was created after 9/11, is detailed in the new book “Securing the City” by Christopher Dickey. Dickey is the Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East Regional Editor for Newsweek magazine.
The book, which was released this month, was written with the close cooperation of the NYPD and police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who says the specialized unit was created because information from the federal government was too slow in coming. After 9/11, he realized the NYPD could no longer rely on the CIA, FBI, and NSA to keep New York City safe.
“Everything is bureaucratized, everything is slowed down in the federal government,” said Kelly during a recent discussion with Dickey at the Overseas Press Club in Manhattan. Kelly says in the years since 9/11, the NYPD has focused on how to create a highly skilled and versatile unit with members who not only understand the world of terrorists, but who speak their language and even their slang.
Kelly says these basic communication skills are vital to the work they do.
“We took all of the speakers of the sensitive languages and sent them to Berlitz [language schools],” said Kelly. Many of those used for the special assignment are foreign-born immigrants who the federal government will not clear to do counterterrorism work. Kelly thinks that such an exclusion is a mistake, and understanding subtle linguistic nuances can make for truly useful intelligence. “They know the slang of the back streets of Karachi because they are from the back streets of Karachi,” said Kelly about the members of the unit.