Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Friday, November 16, 2001
Release # 364-01

Contact: Matthew Higgins/Warner Johnston (212) 788-2958


Center Will Train Federal, State & Local Law Enforcement Agencies
In Tactics to Reduce Crime and Protect Communities

Criminal Justice Coordinator Steven M. Fishner joined Kurt F. Schmid, Director of the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, New York/New Jersey HIDTA Director Chauncey Parker, and Lieutenant Colonel Scott K. Fehnel, Battalion Commander of Joint Task Force Six at the opening of the NY/NJ HIDTA's Urban Training Center, at the NYPD Firearms Training Facility in Rodman's Neck, Bronx. The HIDTA Urban Training Center, the first of its kind in the nation, simulates a New York City street and building interiors for training of law enforcement officers responding to a variety of criminal and emergency scenarios in an urban environment.

For the past eight years, the City of New York has been at the forefront of the nation's dramatic reduction in crime. New York City has reduced major felony crime by 52% between 1993 and 2000, and by an additional 12% in the first six months of 2001. During that same time period, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has become one of the most restrained police departments of any major city. The number of shots fired by uniformed officers declined from 1,993 in 1993 to 504 in 2000, and the total number of fatal shootings by police officers declined from 23 in 1993 to 14 in 2000.

"The New York City Police Department is the best trained and most restrained police department in the nation," the Mayor said. "This facility will provide state of the art training for NYPD, the Department of Correction, federal and state agencies resulting in a safer City for all New Yorkers. I commend the Police Department, HIDTA, and all of the agencies that have made this training facility possible."

"It's most fitting that the premier law enforcement agency in the United States now has the premier tactical training center, " said Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik. "This cutting-edge facility will not only help us train law enforcement personnel in the best ways to stay safe during dangerous encounters, it will also give community leaders and the media unprecedented insight into the difficult and often split second decisions police officers have to make every day. The NYPD is most appreciative for all the efforts that went into turning this great idea into reality."

The Urban Training Center was created through cooperative efforts of the NYPD, NY/NJ HIDTA, and Joint Task Force Six (JTF6), the Department of Defense's counterdrug support unit. The Urban Training Center is comprised of a 45,000 square foot combat "village", which includes four 3-story brownstone buildings (simulation facilities). Each floor of each building simulates the interior of a different urban structure. For example, one floor will appear as the floor of a private apartment building, another will look like a New York City Housing Authority residence, two floors will simulate facilities operated by the Department of Correction, while another floor will simulate a bar or commercial establishment. Across the "street" from these buildings is a separate state-of-the-art administrative structure, which will be used as classroom and office space. The administrative structure will be equally divided into separate and permanent administrative facilities for NYPD and HIDTA.

Additional contributions were made by the Department of Transportation, which provided trucks, material and entire road crews to donate and install the sidewalks, grade and pave the streets, and donate and install the traffic lights, street lights, parking meters, street signs, bus shelters, and the other details to the village that helps make it as accurate and effective a street simulation as possible. Contributions were also made by the Department of Environmental Protection, which contributed materials and manpower to excavate and lay piping and put in a working hydrant and sewage system, as well as equipment and material from the Department of Correction and the Department of Sanitation.

This new HIDTA Urban Training Center is the first of its kind in the nation, and will serve as prototype for other HIDTA training centers in other parts of the country. It provides law enforcement instructors with the ability to recreate illegal narcotics activities, violent criminal behavior, and a host of other criminal and emergency situations to train law enforcement personnel how to deal with the wide-variety of challenges that the modern urban environment can pose on a daily basis. Using advanced strategies and technologies to train law enforcement personnel, it is the goal of this NY/NJ HIDTA Urban Training Center to increase the efficiencies and capabilities of officers who are involved in drug traffic control and reduction, protect communities from narcotics and violent crime, and ensure that law enforcement personnel only use force when necessary.

Currently, the NY/NJ HIDTA is involved in the training of thousands of officers from 250 different Federal, State, and local agencies. These agencies, through shared tactical and operational procedures and strategies, have developed their own search warrant execution tactics and these new tactical methods will be rehearsed and executed by an estimated 4,000 officers annually at this site.