Law enforcement agencies face challenges with training in many areas, including balancing time, budget, and competing priorities. Training for lower probability, potentially high consequence events like radiological terrorism presents a challenge for police departments of every size, including the Nation’s largest one, the New York City Police Department (NYPD). To tackle this challenge, NNSA’s Office of Radiological Security (ORS) and the NYPD worked collaboratively to produce a 10-minute video aimed at raising awareness of radiological security for the Department’s 36,000 officers.
The video was filmed in March 2021 and will be available later this year as a training aid that will be accessible on mobile devices for all NYPD officers. It details the radioactive materials of concern, as well as basic radiological safety concepts (time, distance, shielding) in responding to alarms. Additionally, the video was filmed with cooperation from another major ORS partner: the Mount Sinai Hospital System in New York City. Building on this partnership, the video incorporates the important message of taking preventative measures regularly, such as visiting sites with radioactive material within their jurisdiction on a recurring basis and emphasizing the overarching objective of containing material on-site during an attempted theft.
The video supplements classroom training that the NYPD developed with ORS as part of the Radiological Security Awareness and Response (RSAR) initiative. In RSAR, elements of ORS training are fused with local content and NYPD-specific procedures. RSAR develops a program managed by the agency itself to ensure long-term sustainment of the training efforts. To support the video and classroom training, ORS provided the NYPD with a training mock-up irradiator and security system for its Counter Terrorism Training Center allowing for hands-on radiological security event response training.
The NYPD video is the first to be produced for viewing on mobile devices, as opposed for a classroom environment. The NYPD issues smartphones to all its members and deploys tablets in all its vehicles. The video was specifically produced to be viewed on these devices, and as part of the officers’ regular training and awareness program focused on radiological security. This builds on the NYPD’s effort to host a library of training videos that are viewable at any time from any of their devices. This approach allows personnel to be exposed to initial training and then refresh their knowledge on particular topics at their convenience.
ORS has produced similar videos for Denver, Colorado; Miami, Florida; and San Diego, California – reaching more than additional 4,000 officers. Upcoming videos will be produced for Dallas, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
There are more than 100,000 police officers in the 20 largest U.S. cities. This one video reaches more than a third of them already, and ORS is committed to producing cost-effective training solutions like these videos for more police departments.