New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services: Office of Counter Terrorism
Public Safety Unit/Red Teams
About the Unit
The Public Safety Unit (PSU) continuously evaluates and enhances New York State's counter terrorism posture, by:
- Facilitating and supporting counter terrorism prevention activities across the state;
- Promoting and coordinating law enforcement operations to strengthen public safety and security;
- Conducting outreach to target audiences and the general public regarding counter terrorism and homeland security programs;
- Conducting activities to further engage the public safety community in intelligence and information sharing;
- Providing support to the NYS Office of Emergency Management as-needed during disasters and emergencies.
Red Teams exercises are pre-planned, unannounced activities conducted in each of New York's 16 Counter Terrorism Zones (CTZs) by undercover law enforcement and homeland security personnel, who engage in suspicious activity in an effort to "test" specific infrastructure and business sectors and track if and how the activity is reported. Each exercise lasts 3-4 days, and tests 30-40 local organizations chosen based on the current threat environment and intelligence. The goal of the Red Teams is to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of New York State's suspicious activity reporting programs, encourage facility security and target hardening, and promote citizen awareness and information and intelligence sharing. Red Teams significantly strengthen statewide partnerships between OCT, law enforcement, communities, and the private sector.
The Public Safety Unit coordinates outreach to the general public and target audiences in the following ways:
- Orders and delivers Operation Safeguard outreach materials for the State Fair, various outreach events, law enforcement, and for private and public sector partners throughout the State;
- Provides subject matter expertise to develop public safety content for various materials, including a training video and advisory posters;
- Attends/presents at conferences and sits on panels related to public safety.
Intelligence and Information Sharing
The Public Safety Unit supports statewide intelligence and information sharing in the following ways:
- Coordinates the Intelligence Liaison Officer (ILO) Program - including the annual ILO conference - in conjunction with the Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) and the NYS Intelligence Center (NYSIC). The ILO Program enhances outreach, education, and information sharing to Fire and EMS first responders regarding counter terrorism and responder safety issues. Currently there are approximately 120 ILOs across the State;
- Serves as the Emergency Services liaison to the NYSIC;
- Develops and disseminates the weekly and quarterly CrossFIRE intelligence products for Fire and EMS first responders, in conjunction with the NYSIC;
- Maintains a database of incidents targeting Fire/EMS first responders and analyzes data for notable trends/lessons learned to share with the responder community.