New York Trip – Bite of the Big Apple – FBINA #258
On Friday night, 10/24/2014, at around 1530 hrs., 112 members of the FBINA #258 plied into two buses took what turned out to be a very long bus ride to the Westin Grand Central which is located below the Chrysler Building and very close to Grand Central Station. We arrived around 2330 hrs. and were quickly provided our room keys. Tap and I shared a room on the 24th floor. We dropped our bags and went to Times Square. It was abnormally quiet and there was plenty of room to walk around and see the sights. We did not stay out too late because there was plenty to do all day on Saturday. On Saturday, 10/25/2014, we all rode through Brooklyn to get to the NYPD Special Operations Division. Once at the NYPD Hangar we were welcomed by Deputy Inspector/Piolt James Coan who is the Commanding Officer of the Aviation Unit. Deputy Inspector Coan provided us with little known information with reference to how his unit and other units keep New York safe. It was amazing to hear about the technology and tactics that keep terrorists at bay and our county safe. While at the hangar many of their specialty units provided demonstrations that impressed the most tenured law enforcement officers that were present. We were able to interact with the NYPD K9 Unit, Mounted Patrol, Emergency Service Unit, Aviation Unit, and the Dive Team. The Dive Team and the Aviation (Air Rescue) teams put on a dynamic rescue demonstration for us. We all were highly impressed with how highly trained and exceptionally equipped the members of the NYPD units were. We then traveled to One Police Plaza and were welcomed by Sergeant Kevin C. Lonergan who spoke to us about the NYPD Joint Operations Center. It seems we are doing many of the same crime fighting and intelligence work that the Pasco Sheriff’s Office currently does with a few tricks up their sleeves. It is amazing to see the technological advancements in crime fighting at work “real time”. We were also provided a tour of the Real Time Crime Center which is also filled with the newest and best technology. It is amazing how much more advanced New York is when it comes to their surveillance abilities and their ability to instantly begin a proactive investigation with regard to persons and things. Here is a link to the 60 Minutes story about the Real Time Crime Center --- http://www.activu.com/nypd-real-time-crime-center/ We also got tour the enormous Compstat Room where Commanders get grilled by the Executive Staff of the agency. We were provided stories about what occurs during the Compstat meetings and how law enforcement officers at the Commander level are held accountable for the crime fighting and general public safety efforts within their areas of responsibility. You literality could feel the tension in the room as we sat there and looked around at all the chairs and utter vastness of the room itself. We were also shown a relatively short NYPD promo video about the different specialty units that function within the city. After our time at One Police Plaza we took the long bus ride back to the hotel. We were lucky enough to make plans to go up to the top of 30 Rock after dinner. As you can see we were able to get in a lot of walking and site seeing. We met the entire group at Carmine’s in Times Square for dinner. I must say Carmine’s definitely knows how to hit the ball out of the park when it comes making Italian food. During the meal we were visited by the NYPD Pipes and Drums - http://www.nypdpipesanddrums.com/ . They put on quite a show for our group and stuck around for pictures and shared in our good times. I will try to post the Pipes and Drums video that was taken at the dinner to this blog. After as small group of us were able to get to the Top of the Rock. The views from the top are breathtaking and if you ever find yourself in NYC and want to see the best views I highly suggest you travel to the Top of the Rock. While on the roof we all noticed the newest and highest skyscraper and world’s tallest residential building that is still under construction. The new building is named Nordstrom Tower and will span 1,775 feet into the air. On Sunday, October 26, 2014, the group travelled to New York Harbor and had the opportunity to board onto FDNY Marine One --- http://marine1fdny.com/ and take a tour of New York Harbor. We saw all the sites to include, Ellis Island, the Statute of Liberty, the NY Skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, the extremely busy NY helipad, and water taxi areas. As you can see by the many pictures I took, the views were incredible and everyone (including the NYPD Lieutenant and Sergeant who put the tour together) thought it was one of those once in a lifetime moments to see NYC and the Harbor from one of the most awesome fireboats ever built (it was built in North Florida). After the boat tour we travelled to the 9/11 memorial and museum. Once at the memorial we along with the NYPD Honor Guard had a brief ceremony under the Survivor Tree --- http://www.911memorial.org/blog/survivor-tree-withstood-911-attacks-returns-wtc-grow-memorial-plaza-update-x3 . I had been to the memorial before and many others have seen pictures and videos of the memorial before arriving. As we walked around the twin reflecting pools with the names of the victims (1993 and 2001) inscribed in bronze panels surrounding the tops of the pools you could feel the anguish and distain for what occurred (the terrorist attacks of 1993 and 2001). The tour of the museum was absolutely gut-wrenching and I had mixed emotions of anger and sadness. I could not imagine anyone that had any direct interaction with any aspect of the terror attack (2001) being able to make it through the entire exhibit (especially the part that no photographs or video are allowed in). The area of the exhibit where actual recordings of people in the towers leaving recorded messages to their loved ones and audio of people who survived but watched others perish in horrific fashion was one of the most emotionally gripping exhibits I have ever seen. I want to take this time to thank NYPD Lieutenant Janna Salisbury and Sergeant Gregory Accomando for putting together an excellent experience that touched on so many law enforcement and public safety issues and all stressed the need for communication and partnerships to keep the United States safe. The New York Trip is a must do if you have the opportunity. I look forward to the Philadelphia trip in two weeks where we will be there to learn all about the Philly PD.