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1,100 Joint Counter Terrorism Exercises Across New York State in 2023 Completed

Counter Terrorism Teams Conduct Exercises at Various Business and Infrastructure Sites in New York State The Office of Counter Terrorism, within the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, recently conducted a series of training exercises at over 1,100 locations across the state in 2023.

These exercises involved counter-terrorism experts from over 80 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and aimed to assess the ability of businesses to identify and report suspicious activity. Since 2016, more than 6,300 exercises have been carried out throughout New York State to enhance public safety and security.

Additionally, the law enforcement teams and Office of Counter Terrorism staff conducted almost 89 NY-SECURE rail counter-terrorism details, leveraging the importance of "See Something, Say Something" to remind travelers about their vital role in maintaining security. According to Governor Kathy Hochul, prioritizing public safety remains at the forefront, and these exercises play a crucial role in educating both business employees and the general public on recognizing and reporting potential threats to law enforcement.

She expressed gratitude to law enforcement and homeland security personnel for their ongoing support in safeguarding the public. Law enforcement teams from all 16 counter-terrorism zones in New York State conducted exercises involving more than 400 personnel.

 During these exercises, teams evaluated the recognition and reporting of suspicious activity at 860 businesses involved in the sale, rental, or provision of services related to chemicals, compounds, components, or resources that may be exploited by malicious actors.

Moreover, they assessed the security preparedness of over 200 critical infrastructure sites, including stadiums, malls, shopping centers, colleges, universities, airports, transit hubs, and other high-attendance venues. Notably, around 40 percent of the locations tested in 2023 were new, highlighting the collaborative effort between state counter-terrorism analysts and law enforcement in identifying previously untested areas. Engagement with various stakeholders has significantly contributed to public vigilance and the reporting of suspicious activities.

The state-coordinated effort, initiated in 2016, has witnessed a 30 percent increase in suspicious activity reports received through the NYS Terrorism Tips Line, indicating the effectiveness of outreach and training efforts. Jackie Bray, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, emphasized the role of these exercises in equipping business owners and their employees with the ability to identify and report suspicious activity, thereby ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers.

inclusion of counter-terrorism details along the rail lines remains an integral part of the state's public safety outreach. He urged all citizens to promptly report any concerning observations to law enforcement.

Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento of the New York State Police highlighted the criticality of educating businesses and the public about identifying and reporting suspicious activity to prevent terrorism threats. By bringing together local and state first responders through comprehensive planning, coordination, and training, the state can effectively mitigate emergency situations and protect communities.

These exercises serve as a vital component of continuous efforts to safeguard New Yorkers. Operation NY-SECURE, another initiative by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, partnered with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to conduct counter-terrorism and incident response details along Amtrak routes and MTA commuter lines.

These joint efforts aim to improve coordination and response capabilities between railroad and local law enforcement agencies in emergency situations. The unannounced operation involved visible details, such as increased security presence onboard trains, heightened platform patrols, explosive detection canine sweeps, and counter-surveillance measures.

In 2023 alone, Operation NY-SECURE accomplished 89 details throughout the state, including 77 single-station details and 12 multi-station details at Amtrak and MTA stations along the Empire Line.

Since its inception in 2018, 447 details have been completed across the state, with plans for continued operations in 2024. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services serves as a guiding force, providing leadership, coordination, and support in disaster prevention, protection, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.

For more information, please visit the DHSES website or follow them on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

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