An elite team of heavily armed and armor-clad NYPD officers conducted a very realistic counter-terrorism and hostage rescue training exercise on the set of the hit series, "Broadway Empire" in Brooklyn yesterday.
Members of the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) Emergency Service Unit (ESU) conducted a simulation in which several armed terrorists barricaded themselves inside of a hotel while also holding hostages.
The high-profile and dramatic counter-terrorism and hostage rescue training exercise was carried out on the set of the acclaimed HBO series, "Broadway Empire" which is filmed in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.
"Boardwalk Empire" is a drama series which follows a group of Atlantic City gangsters during America's Prohibition era.
ESU Lieutenant Ken Beatty, who participated in the tactical exercise, told New York's NBC 4 news,
"There were helicopters involved, ground teams moving on the boardwalk. So there was a lot going on."
During the exercise, several ESU officers arriving in a NYPD helicopter fast-roped on to the boardwalk where they cleared numerous bystanders played by college students enrolled in the NYPD's Cadet Corps.
The ESU team then stormed the mock Ritz Carlton Hotel where the terrorists were barricaded with their hostages. The ESU team rescued several "hostages" while also apprehending "six terrorists."
An ESU officer "wounded" during a shootout with the terrorists was evacuated from the scene by helicopter.
The NYPD's press office says the shows producers loaned the set to the police department for the training exercise.
According to an official statement from the NYPD, the drill was designed to
address the threat posed by multiple, active shooters after armed terrorists in Mumbai killed hostages in a hotel, train station, resturant and Jewish community center there in 2008.
During that crisis, which became known to the world as the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a team of 11 terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan, unleashed an unprecedented wave of synchronized violence over the course of four days in India's financial capital and largest city.
The terrorists went on a rampage carrying out mass shootings, bombings and hostage takings, leaving the city paralyzed with fear. The poorly trained and equipped local police were helpless to end the attackers reign of terror.
When the military finally intervened and put a stop to the attacks over 192 people were killed and 308 injured.
The NYPD has long feared a similar attack by teams of trained and heavily armed terrorists running through the streets of the city, destroying property and killing at will.
ESU also plans to carryout live action drills at other locations in the city similar to yesterday's exercise.
While this is not the first occasion in which ESU has carried out a tactical exercise addressing the threat of terrorist active shooters, it is certainly the most high-profile.
The Emergency Service Unit will be operating at an immensely higher than usual tempo for the rest of the month as the NYPD concerns itself with security for the much anticipated grand opening of Barclays Center, a new sports arena in Downtown Brooklyn. The grand opening is scheduled for next Friday and is expected to attract thousands including several celebrities and local politicians.
Another high profile security event for ESU is that of the United Nations General Assembly which is due to begin next week. The UN General Assembly, which will last at least a week, is an event in which all of the world leaders gather at the UN's international headquarters in Midtown Manhattan to discuss the most pressing global issues. ESU and the NYPD will have the complex task of working with state and federal law enforcement agencies to secure the UN and its visitors.
ABC News screengrab
Image of a Fall 2010 training exercise in which police officers of the New York City Police Department's Emergency Service Unit (ESU) take cover behind a police armored truck before storming a building where terrorists have barricade themselves.