The NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU) is a combined Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and an elite urban rescue operation.
The few who make the cut and are selected for the ESU become highly trained, elite members of New York’s police force, qualified to perform counter-narcotic and counter-terror operations.
The ESU provides escort to the President of the United States, as well as other world leaders and foreign dignitaries. This duty may require the involvement of Counter Assault Teams, Counter Sniper Teams or WMD Response Teams.
The ESU is organised into 10 similarly sized and resourced squads spread throughout New York’s five boroughs.
In January 2012, there were 366 officers assigned to the ESU , which is a unit within the NYPD’s Special Operations Division.
In order to qualify for ESU membership, an officer requires a minimum tenure of 5 years as an NYPD officer before consideration, as well as a number of proven specialist skills.
ESU officers are cross-trained in advanced tactics, VIP protection, counter terrorism, hostage negotiation, helicopter rescue, scuba diving and advanced first aid.
An ESU officer must pass 22 tests to earn assignment to the ESU. These tests include high angle rope rescue, tactical rappelling, and the extraction of trapped people from all manner of damaged equipment, including vehicles, trains, scaffolding, cranes and elevators.
After seven months of Specialized Training School, an ESU officer is a certified EMT-Basic, a HAZMAT/WMD Technician, and a PADI certified open water search-and-rescue diver. They can also be accepted to the NYPD/FBI Counter Sniper Training Schools.