NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– The World Trade Center site is a place of serenity and an oasis of quiet to remember the lives lost on 9/11, but it’s also believed to still be in the cross-hairs of the world’s terrorists.
Given its past, it is critical to protect the site’s future and CBS2’s Maurice DuBoise got a first hand look at the elite unite that protects it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I show them the names here and the importance of the site; of this hallowed ground,” said Sgt. George Gigo.
Gigo reflected on his post at the 9/11 Memorial site, but every day, the dangerous reality of the patrol is made perfectly clear with a warning at roll call.
“ISIL lost a significant amount of territory due to U.S. efforts,” a supervisor warned the officers as they stood at the ready. “They might feel their power is slipping, and this is one of their chances to punch back.”
How concerned is World Trade Center security about the threat of an attack? Is it a question of if or a question of when?
“We think it’s a question of when, unfortunately,” said Inspector Kevin Burke.
Burke said the elite unite covering the 16-acre site is trained in tactics once reserved only for the Special Forces of the U.S. Military.
They learn how to deal with active shooters, train in heavy weapons, and how to spot suspicious behavior. The department has studied terrorist attacks worldwide and teams of officers are equipped and ready to go up against anything in the enemy’s arsenal, deployed in minutes.
“We are at the ready, and we are ready for anything that can or will come,” Burke said.
It’s a command many want, but few are chosen. You not only have to be a good cop, you have to understand what the mission represents.
“They have to tell us exactly why the World Trade Center command,” Burke said. “They tell us about the history of the site and how they want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
For those who make the cut, it’s more than a job — it’s an honor.
“There’s a sense of protecting the crown jewel of the city,” Burke said.
For security reasons, CBS2 cannot disclose how many of these hero officers are in the unit. But we can say those 16 acres are crawling with officers, most of whom you cannot see.