What the NYPD's Impressive Counter Terrorism Unit Actually Does

Reuters just published a photo essay of the NYPD's Counter Terrorism Unit. The unit is loaded with heavy weapons, Big Brother-esque technology and a determination to prevent something like 9/11 from happening again.

Many New Yorkers have probably noticed the increased cop presence around the city—in subways, on streets, etc.—after 9/11 and complained about them inconveniencing their lives. And sure, some of it is more a show of force than a show of action, but there's a lot more beyond the dog and pony show.

Most impressive is the Hercules team, which is just as bad ass as it sounds—an intelligence officer, a canine unit, highway patrol unit and squad of heavily armed police officers that are ready for emergencies and tour the city to maintain their presence.

Reuters has so much more about the CTU (including gnarly surveillance tools) but what surprised me most was how the NYPD react to terrorism in other countries and then develop their own preventive measures. Bombs in London subways led to increased patrol in our subways, dirty bombs in Mumbai led to more personnel trained in urban assault tactics. The NYPD also has a presence in 11 different countries, making it the only US police department to have a worldwide reach. As we know, the best intelligence is often better at choking out terrorism than the best technology.

Check out the full photo essay over at Reuters. [Reuters]