2002-03-30 / Community

Marines And NYPD Practice At Floyd Bennett

By Sgt John Neal

By Sgt John Neal

A small metal canister rolls into a room.  Before anyone can respond, the canister bursts in a quick flash of light and a loud bang. A pair of heavily armored police officers brandishing MP-5 submachine guns rush into the room and eliminate gun-toting "perps" with two quick, precise shots to the body.  It all happens in a matter of seconds before the officers declare the area secure.

For a group of Marines stationed in Long Island, this was their introduction to a day of training here with the elite of the NYPD. The officers are members of the New York Police Department Emergency Services Unit, a part-SWAT and part-jack-of-all-trades team of paramilitary specialists.  The Marines are all members of the 1st Marine Corps District guard force in Garden City, N.Y., and are responsible for the security of the headquarters building there.

This marks the first time Marines from the 1st Marine Corps District have trained with the NYPD.  Until now, they have trained alongside the Nassau County Police and Garden City Police departments in marksmanship and other police-type skills the Marines incorporate into their guard duties.

"It's nothing as extensive as this," said Marine guard officer Capt.Michael Luciani of the training facility here, which is a simulation of a house or office building.

"We hoped to teach these guys some new things, and learn a couple things from them," said Police Officer Jimmy McEniry, an instructor here. According to McEniry, the NYPD's ESU has trained with the SEALs - the Navy's special operations unit - in the past and wanted to expand similar training opportunities to include Marines.  McEniry is also a gunnery sergeant with a Marine Reserves unit in New Jersey.

The normal training course for the NYPD's ESU in room-clearing tactics is spread over a two-week period.  NYPD and the Marines, however, modified the training to fit into one day.  Armed with 9mm pistols and MP-5s that shoot paint balls instead of real bullets (they call it "simunition"), the Marines - under the guidance of ESU officers - practiced room breaching, sweeping, and clearing tactics.

"They're already pretty proficient in tactics," said McEniry. "Usually we'll spend an entire day out here working on 'slicing the pie' until students get it right."  By "slicing the pie," McEniry referred to a procedure for scanning a room for hostiles before entering.

"There's only so many ways to enter a room," said Police Officer Pete Segretti, an instructor here.  "Tactics won't change much but there is always complacency that sets in, which can be a dangerous thing."According to the Marines, the day of training refreshed a lot of the skills they learned throughout their careers and broke up the monotony of their regular guard duties.

"It's good stuff," said Marine guard Sgt. Danny Ruiz.  "We're having fun and getting away from the routine."

Luciani agreed that the training was beneficial to his Marines and that he looked forward to continue training with the NYPD. "They're having fun and they're getting some good training," he said.  "We'll definitely have to do this again."

The new working relationship formed with the NYPD has already opened doors for the Marines to continue their training with ESU.  The guards and ESU are discussing future plans to include more advanced tactics training in the future.

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