Specialty Units
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Overview

In addition to normal patrol duties, some troopers can request assignment to special details. The New York State Police has several specialized details throughout the state.

NOTE: You must first become a sworn uniform trooper to request a specialized assignment, we do not have separate applications for these details.

Aviation Unit

The New York State Police Aviation Unit consists of four stations, with the headquarters located at the Albany International Airport. The stations are strategically located to provide maximum coverage of available aviation resources throughout the state. Other stations are located at Adirondack Regional Airport in Saranac Lake, Stewart International Airport in Newburgh and Greater Rochester International Airport. All stations are staffed with aircrew who provide full-service aerial support for responses to emergencies, as well as large-scale planned events.

    History

    The New York State Police Aviation Unit was formed in 1931 and consisted of only one fixed wing aircraft.  It was discontinued a few years later. In 1967 the unit was reformed, and again consisted of only one single-engine aircraft, a Cessna 172. That airplane is still in service today. In 1998, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s flight department was merged into the State Police Aviation Unit. Today, the unit has over 40 pilots and 21 aircraft.  The diversity of the unit’s missions requires it to fly both helicopters and fixed wing airplanes.  The unit currently flies the following helicopters: Sikorsky S76D, Bell 407, Bell 430, and Bell UH-1 Huey.  Additionally, the unit flies the following airplanes: Beechcraft King Air 250, Cessna 206, Cessna 172, and Partnavia P68.   

    Services Provided

    The New York State Police Aviation unit provides a variety of services throughout the state.

    Service to Police:

    • Aerial support at emergency scenes and large-scale planned events
    • Searches
    • Surveillance
    • Extradition
    • Traffic Incident Management surveys

    Lifesaving

    • Medevac
    • Rescue

    Environmental Conservation

    • Aerial fire suppression
    • Wildlife surveys
    • Fish stocking
    • Illegal dumping
     

    Bicycle Patrols

    The Division's Mountain Bicycle Patrol program began in 1997, when Troop T began providing bike patrols along the New York State Canal Trail System. Each year, the State Canal Corporation has worked with municipalities across the state to open additional sections of trail, with the ultimate goal of having a trail system connecting the state from Albany to Buffalo. Troop D, with financial assistance from local businesses, has provided bike patrols in the Sylvan Beach area and the New York State Fairgrounds since 1997. The Executive Services Detail also began providing bicycle patrols at the Empire State Plaza complex in Albany.

    Bomb Disposal Unit

    Established in 1972, the NYSP Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) is the second-largest squad of its kind in New York State, exceeded only by the New York City Police Department's Bomb Squad. The BDU is responsible for responding to calls for improvised explosive devices, recovered military ordnance, commercial explosives and fireworks throughout much of the upstate area.

    The BDU maintains separate facilities in Albany, Newburgh, Watertown and Batavia. Each facility is equipped with mitigation equipment, such as disposal trailers, robots and hazardous materials (HAZMAT) suits. Each bomb technician carries critical first-responder equipment, including an X-ray device and bomb suits.

    All BDU members are trained in the handling of hazardous materials, including chemical and biological agents and provide services to municipalities lacking their own HAZMAT teams. All bomb squad technicians maintain certification through the FBI Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama.

    CCSERT

    The New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team (CCSERT) was created to train and equip members to respond to terrorist actions involving chemical, biological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) material. Along with being prepared to respond to CBRNE incidents, the four regional CCSERT teams are regularly called upon by other law enforcement agencies for their expertise in responding to, and mitigating, various dangerous clandestine drug laboratories. These clan labs include, but are not limited to, methamphetamine, fentanyl, steroids and ecstasy (MDMA).

    Canine Unit

    The New York State Police created the Division Canine Unit in 1975. The three canines were put into service as explosives detection canines in preparation for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.

    The Unit has grown from those original three teams to its current strength of more than 90. There are currently 29 explosives detection canine teams, 57 narcotic detection teams and four bloodhound teams. The bloodhound teams are utilized exclusively for tracking. Of the 57 narcotics detection teams, 20 are additionally trained in cadaver detection. Nine of the explosives detection canine handlers are also serving on the Bomb Disposal Unit.

    In 2000, the Canine Unit found a permanent home in Cooperstown, New York. Through the generosity of philanthropist Jane Forbes Clark and the Clark Foundation, the Canine Unit was provided with a state of the art training facility. The facility is a 10,000 square foot colonial style structure set on approximately 2,000 acres. The facility can accommodate 15 students and staff, and provides a variety of training applications. The facility serves as a command center for the Canine Unit being centrally located in the state, and is open to all police agencies.

    During the 20-week training period, a new handler and a untrained canine are teamed together and undergo a strenuous program during which the teams are instructed in: basic obedience, agility, handler protection, either narcotics or explosives detection, tracking, building searches, veterinary first aid, and land navigation - map and compass course. The students are required to pass all aspects of training to receive certification. Upon completion of the Canine Handlers Basic School, the teams are sent out on patrol and receive re-certification bi-annually at the training facility.

    New York State Police canines are named in honor of the men and women of the state police who have died in the line of duty.

    View Canine Gallery

    Underwater Recovery Team

    The New York State Police Underwater Recovery Team is the oldest and largest public safety dive team in the United States. Operating since 1932, the URT consists of nine full time regional team leaders and 56 on-call divers, distributed across eight Troops in Upstate New York. The NYSP URT regularly provides its specialized services to communities and law enforcement agencies across the state. When not assigned to a dive detail, on-call NYSP divers perform regular patrol and administrative duties.

    With more than 20 available boats, including four airboats and high tech underwater electronic search equipment, the URT is able to respond to boat accidents, accidental drownings, flood emergencies, swift water rescues and other water related emergencies.

    The URT responds to an average of 240 calls annually and performs an average of 1,800 dives to recover victims, weapons, evidence, vehicles and aircraft from New York State waters.

    Marine Detail

    The New York State Police Marine Detail maintains boat patrols in eight Troops. The detail patrols waterways throughout the state from early spring to late fall, enforcing Navigation Law, Canal Rules & Regulations and Environmental Conservation Laws. Troopers assigned to this detail also assist boaters in distress, provide search and rescue services, along with water security at regattas, hydroplane races and other water-related events.

     

    Motorcycle Unit

    The New York State Police Motorcycle Unit is a multi-purpose unit trained to assist for any purpose except routine patrol. The unit, re-established in 1997 after a more than 30-year absence, have been used to escort visiting dignitaries, provide security at large events like the annual Ironman Competition in Lake Placid, and for policing large crowds or high traffic-volume areas. The motorcycles are capable of negotiating dense traffic, can quickly respond to emergencies and clear the way for emergency equipment in situations inaccessible by troop car.

     

    Radiological

    The Radiological Interdiction Detection program was established to work with federal, state, and local agencies to detect and interdict illicit radioactive material that could potentially be used by terrorists in a dirty bomb or improvised nuclear device. Specially trained New York State Police members carry specialized equipment that can detect all forms of ionizing radiation.

    Snowmobile & ATV

    Snowmobile Patrols

    New York State Police members assigned to the detail are certified to instruct the New York State Snowmobile Safety Program, and assist with the instruction of these courses across the state. Snowmobiles can also be used to assist Troopers during inclement weather.

    ATV Patrols

    New York State Police have utilized ATVs during searches for missing persons, criminal investigations, to transport personnel to remote crime scenes or search locations and for specialized enforcement efforts. Some NYSP ATVs are equipped with optional tracks which replace the wheels and can be used to get through heavy snow during inclement weather conditions to assist stranded motorists.

    Special Operations Response Team

    The New York State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT) was created in 1980 to provide a tactical response element for the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. There are currently five regional teams: Capital, North Central, South Central, South and West. The teams train and respond daily, providing their specialized services to communities and law enforcement agencies across the state.

    Special Operations Response Team duties include, but are not limited to:

    • Counter Terrorism Operations
    • Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
    • Disaster Relief Operations
    • Hostage Rescue
    • Clandestine Labs
    • High Risk/Violent Felony Arrests
    • Searches for Escapees/Wanted Subjects
    • Searches for Lost/Injured Hikers
    • Select Civil Disturbance/Crowd Control
    • High Angle Rope Rescue
    • Tactical Patrol
    • Barricaded Suspects
    • High Risk Dignitary Protection or Escorts

    Unmanned Aerial System

    The New York State Police Unmanned Aerial System program started in January 0f 2018.

    The UAS will be used to support law enforcement missions, including disaster response and traffic safety.

    The Unmanned Aerial System can document and help reconstruct serious motor vehicle crashes in less time than with current methods, resulting in shorter road closures, lessening the impact on motorists. Investigators will also use the aerial drones to document and photograph crime scenes. The drones can also be used to search for missing or wanted individuals.

    State Police members who operate the Unmanned Aerial System are FAA certified and undergo 32 hours of hands-on training with the systems.