NYPD to roll out new ‘Neighborhood Safety’ anti-gun team



The NYPD will soon roll out a new hybrid plainclothes police squad to combat gun violence in the Big Apple — in what appears to be a revamped version of the disbanded anti-crime unit, The Post has learned.

The new units, dubbed Neighborhood Safety Teams, will replace the uniformed Public Safety Teams in the top 30 commands where shootings surged last year, according to a memo sent out Friday by Chief of Department Ken Corey.

“Neighborhood Safety Teams will be responsible for addressing violent street crimes, specifically targeting perpetrators who carry and use illegal firearms,” according to the memo obtained by The Post.

“They will perform duty attired in a hybrid plain-clothes/uniform, and their name, rank, and shield number will appear on their outermost garment at all times so that the public and other officers can identify them as members of the service.”

The move appears to fulfill a campaign promise by Eric Adams to reinstitute the controversial anti-crime unit, which was disbanded by former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea last year.

NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth E. Corey
NYPD Chief of Department Ken Corey says pedestrians will be able to identify officers in Neighborhood Safety Teams.
William Farrington

When Shea disbanded the squad, he said it was “in the realm of closing on one of the last chapters on stop, question and frisk.”

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell previously told The Post that she believed “plainclothes units work” but you had to staff the squads with “well-trained officers” who “know what their objectives are.”

The department asked police brass in the memo for a list of qualified candidates in their commands by next Friday that it will send to special training similar to undercover narcotics, vice and autocrime training.

It was unclear how long the “specialized training” would be or when the units would hit the streets.

Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams campaigned on bringing back an NYPD plain-clothes unit.
William Farrington

All candidates for the unit must have at least 2.5 years on the job and be “vetted by their Commanding Officers” in which would a “review of performance evaluations, disciplinary history, use of force incidents, civilian complaints, community recognition, Body-Worn Camera footage, Stop Report compliance, sick record, etc. must be considered,” Corey writes.

The anti-gun cops will wear body-worn cameras while on patrol and their vehicles will have dashboard cameras, according to the memo.

Each unit, which will be supervised by a lieutenant, will have a ratio of one sergeant for every five cops or detectives, the memo says.

Corey writes that the ratio will “balance the need to provide public safety with concerns about proactive policing by Precinct-based plainclothes teams.”

Some police sources were skeptical of the unit being much different from its prior iteration, which was criticized for its aggressive police tactics that led to a disproportionate number of civilian complaints and police shootings.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell claims hybrid plainclothes cop units are successful with “well-trained officers.”
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

“New paint job and smart lighting,” one source quipped.

Other sources have lamented since the dismantling of the plainclothes gun squad that it was a necessary unit on the streets where shootings have not slowed since the early weeks of the pandemic.

Neither NYPD nor City Hall immediately responded for comment.

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks


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