N.Y.P.D. Rolls Out New Version of Anti-Gun Unit With Violent Past
A revamped version of a specialized police unit focused on getting firearms off New York’s streets began operating on Monday in line with one of Mayor Eric Adams’s central campaign pledges as gun violence in the city remains above its prepandemic levels.
The rolling out of the unit coincides with rising anxiety about public safety among some New Yorkers, a feeling that has been stoked by a string of high-profile shootings and attacks on the subway earlier this year.
Mr. Adams’s vow during the mayoral race to revive the unit, which is viewed within the Police Department as an elite squad, was among the campaign’s most contentious subjects. Progressive candidates argued that the unit, which was responsible in its earlier incarnation for a disproportionate number of fatal shootings by the police, was too troubled to bring back.
The mayor and the police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, have said that the revamped squad, which they refer to as the anti-gun unit, will avoid past problems and that misconduct and overly aggressive tactics will not be tolerated. To increase accountability, officers assigned to the unit wear modified uniforms that identify them as Police Department members, rather than plain clothes, officials said.