NYC Police Parade?
November 7, 2007 8:21 AM   Subscribe

In the last half-hour, two "police parades" (my term) have passed by my office window on 6th Avenue. In these events, anywhere from 15 to 40 closely-spaced police cars drive up the avenue with lights flashing. They're *not* accompanying a black SUV containing some VIP. VIP convoys usually consist of just a few black cars, not a flashy parade. They're not in a hurry and there are no sirens, so it doesn't seem there's any emergency happening. I see these "parades" at least a couple of times a week, and since I'm not always by my window, it seems likely there are many more of them happening on Sixth Avenue and elsewhere in the city when I'm not looking. It all seems pointless. Any idea what's going on?
posted by JimN2TAW to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Practice runs for presidential visits and such?
posted by ian1977 at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2007

I have heard them referred to as "surge drills", thoughI cant find much support for that after a quick google. I think they fall vaguely under the counter-terrorism banner.
posted by shothotbot at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2007

NYPD calls them "surges." You can read a bit about them Here.

I've seen articles about this practice more specifically, but I can't find them in a two second search.

Video here.
posted by ecab at 8:33 AM on November 7, 2007

posted by thejoshu at 8:33 AM on November 7, 2007

"They'll never sell any ice cream going at that speed" - old Morecambe & Wise joke that I think of whenever I see what the OP describes.
posted by WPW at 9:03 AM on November 7, 2007

This is a question that I did not even know how to ask. I am glad I have an answer. I see these surges all the time downtown.
posted by remthewanderer at 9:27 AM on November 7, 2007

This 2004 NY Times article explains the drills to be part of the preparation for the then-upcoming Republican National Convention, although this isn't mentioned in the CBS piece.
posted by hangashore at 10:39 AM on November 7, 2007

probably a surge drill. they did one in brooklyn at the atlantic mall that scared the crap out of me. there must have been 75 police cars on atlantic avenue.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:54 AM on November 7, 2007

Surge drill. They have been lining up outside my building near Whitehall off and on for a couple weeks.
posted by Falconetti at 11:06 AM on November 7, 2007

I used to see these all the time when I lived in Hells Kitchen. The police would line all their cars up in front of the Jacob Javitz Convention Center before a "surge".
posted by JaredSeth at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2007

Supposedly they do this stuff as a show of force so that anyone who is thinking they can get away with something with think twice knowing that the police are on the ball. It's like the bag searches on the subways; they know that it probably won't turn up any bombs but it might make terrorists think that hitting the subways won't work.

My office building is supposedly a staging point for the Hercules force; it's quite disturbing to arrive at work to see tons of cops in riot gear and big guns.
posted by kenzi23 at 2:57 PM on November 7, 2007

Defintiely a surge drill - I used to run into them every so often on the West Side Highway - imagine traffic parting for an approaching cop, only to discover it's 50+ cars playing follow-the-leader...
posted by pupdog at 6:40 PM on November 7, 2007

More specifically, "Critical response surge." Frightening if you don't know what it is; annoying security theater if you do.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:44 PM on November 7, 2007

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