The NYPD has announced new, heavily-armed anti-terror patrols for Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.
The New York Police Department will roll out new security measures at New York’s sports venues, with heavily-armed police units set to patrol Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center during Knicks, Rangers, Nets, and Islanders games and other events.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill ordered the change in response to the terror attack at an Arianna Grande concert in Manchester, England in May, the New York Post reports. The new patrols will begin before the holidays, with approximately 12 officers on duty for every event.
Security at both venues had been stepped-up in the wake of October attacks in Las Vegas and lower Manhattan, but this announcement represents a shift in strategy for the department.
The new security details will be stationed at the precincts local to MSG and the Barclays Center – Manhatan’s Midtown South precinct and the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn, respectively. Having local police handle the enhanced security is intended to reduce response time in an emergency situation, as the officers assigned to the building will work there regularly and know the layout and setting.
Before the change, enhanced security for big events was handled by the department’s elite Emergency Services Unit and other groups that cover the entire city.
But familiarity with the venues won’t be the officers’ only advantage. They’ll be armed with military-style Colt M4 semiautomatic rifles, body armor and helmets, and other specialized equipment. The officers assigned to the new detail recently completed two-week training programs and separate classes on their new weapons.
NYPD patrol officers typically carry .9 mm handguns.
Similar security enhancements are planned for Yankee Stadium, Citi Field and MCU Park — home of the Brooklyn Cyclones — will be rolled out next spring.