New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit

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New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit
Common name NYPD Emergency Service Unit
Abbreviation NYPD ESU
Flag of the New York City Police Department.svg
Motto "At Your Service... Anything, Anytime, Anywhere!"
Agency overview
Formed 1920
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of New York in the state of New York, U.S.
Map of New York Highlighting New York City.svg
Map of New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit's jurisdiction.
Size 1,214.4 km²
Population 8,274,527
Legal jurisdiction New York City
General nature
Operational structure
Police Officers Approx. 500
Police Commissioner responsible William Bratton
Agency executive Deputy Chief Vincent Giordano, Commanding Officer
Parent agency New York City Police Department
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit is a component of the NYPD Patrol Services Bureau's Special Operations Division. The unit is uniquely trained and equipped to perform tactical (Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)) and technical rescue duty for other department elements. Members of ESU are cross-trained in multiple disciplines for police and rescue work. In addition, its Canine Unit helps with searches for perpetrators and missing persons. ESU is always on patrol (all three tours, 365 days a year) with 10 Heavy Rescue trucks, each ordinarily manned by a police officer and a sergeant, and often more than twice as many smaller Radio Emergency Patrol vehicles containing two ESU police officers. There are also two or more citywide patrol sergeants or lieutenants in unmarked vehicles on duty at all times to supervise ESU operations where needed. These are called "U-Cars" on the NYPD radio, for example, "U-5".

Field organizations

The 10:Emergency Service Squads (ESS) are divided geographically as:

Emergency Service Squads (or Trucks):

ESS-11 is not a patrol squad but a vehicle manned by trainers and support staff assigned to ESU headquarters at Floyd Bennett Field and can respond to nearby incidents or as back-up to other Emergency Service Squads when required.

Lieutenants/Sergeants are assigned as citywide patrol supervisors to supervise multiple "trucks"(squads). They patrol as either U-5 (Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island), or U-4, (Manhattan and the Bronx) and respond to major incidents within their assigned boroughs for the tour.

The ESU Canine Unit maintains 36 dogs-handler teams which include three bloodhounds and several dogs cross-trained in cadaver recovery. The ESU canines are an integral part of the US-TF1 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team as deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Apprehension Tactical Team or "A-Team" is ESU's full-time tactical element. It was originally stood up as a unit in 1989 in order to supplement the ESU's sometimes overwhelming requirement to perform raids throughout the city. A-Team members strictly perform tactical missions which, on a day-to-day basis are typically High-Risk search warrants. The A-Team is widely considered to have the highest operational tempo of any US tactical team, sometimes performing as many as 800–1000 missions per year. The team can be called upon to support any unit within the NYPD, federal law enforcement agencies or outside police departments upon official request for tactical entries. Members of the Apprehension Team are also utilized as tactical and firearms trainers both within ESU and to other NYPD units. The A-Team has participated in many of the city's most notable criminal take-down operations of recent decades many times without recognition. Members of the team are recruited from within ESU, based on team needs and assignment to the team is highly selective. A-Team members are still required to maintain all of their periodic ESU certifications and proficiencies, and must be able to support the ESU on any type of operation should the need arise.


The Emergency Service Unit currently utilizes numerous vehicles including:

  • Eleven Heavy Rescue trucks which are referred to as "Trucks". Trucks 1–10 were built by Saulsbury Fire Apparatus (now part of E-One).[1] Truck 11 was built by Ferrara Fire Apparatus.[2]
  • 40 Radio Emergency Patrol (REP) trucks which are referred to as "Cars" are ESU's work horse and used for regular patrol. Each REP is equipped with scuba gear, medical kits and rescue equipment including heavy hydraulics. REP trucks are built by Odyssey Specialty Vehicles.[3][4]
  • ESU's Medical Squad mans two ambulances.[5]
  • Four Lenco BearCat and two Lenco Peacekeeper armored vehicles.
  • 14 portable light tower generator units stationed throughout the city. In addition to the towers, ESU can also deploy 60 kW, 90 kW, 100 kW and 200 kW generators upon request for additional power when required.
  • Four Mobile Light Generators which are specialized light-power units with tower generators mounted in the bed of pickup trucks.[6]
  • 100 kW mobile generator trucks designated as Mobile Auxiliary Light Truck (MALT)s. It has the capability of supplying enough power to light up Grand Central Terminal.[7]
  • Construction Accident Response Vehicles (CARV) which responds to construction accidents and is used to stabilize structures and rescue entrapped workers/personnel.[8]
  • Emergency Support Vehicle (ESV) which is complete with a motorized Zodiac inflatable and deployable rescue airbag.[9][10]
  • ESU also has Twelve jet skis, plus numerous Zodiac inflatables assigned to units throughout the NYPD.


File:NYPD ESU EMS patch.jpg
A NYPD ESU Emergency Medical Squad patch

The personnel selected for ESU become highly trained, elite members of the NYPD who perform rescue, SWAT and other high risk tactical, counter-narcotic and counter-terror operations.

There are minimum time-in-grade requirements before an NYPD officer can apply to transfer to ESU. Police Officers must have a minimum of 5 years on the job with a minimum annual rating of 3.5. Supervisors in the rank of sergeants and lieutenants must have 2 years in rank before being assigned to ESU. In addition, all ESU candidates must be approved by a group of current ESU members to ensure that they will integrate into the unit successfully.

Casualties/line of duty deaths

ESU lost more members (14 out of 23 NYPD officers) than any other NYPD unit during the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.

ESU in popular culture


  • E-Man: Life in the NYPD Emergency Service Unit – Al Sheppardd's story of ten years in the Emergency Services Unit.


Television Series

Also seen extensively in:


See also


E-Man: Life in the NYPD Emergency Services Unit (Paperback) by Jerry Schmetterer and Al Sheppard

External links