In the wake of the senseless Oct. 1 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas and the terror attack in Manchester, England, in May, heavily armed NYPD officers will now have a consistent presence at New York-area sports and entertainment arenas including Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

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Photo: Jeff Johnson

Carrie Underwood MSG - Carrie Underwood lights up a packed house at Madison Square Garden in New York City Oct. 25.

NYPD officers from various units including Strategic Response Group (SRG) and Emergency Services Unit (ESU) have regularly worked at sports and entertainment events but not on a consistent basis. As a permanent beat, however, law enforcement will have a better understanding of the buildings and their logistics as well as quicker response time to incidents.

“These precinct level officers will be assigned to patrol venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, and coverage at other venues will begin next year,” NYPD spokesperson John Grimpel said.

The new anti-stadium-terror task force members will receive extensive weapons training including on Colt M4 Commando semiautomatic rifles, .9mm hand guns, and tactical uniform items including helmets and heavy vests. NYPD purchased 450 Colt M4 guns for more than $700,000, which were assigned to the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) so that every officer now has their own rifle.

Asked for reaction to the new security measures for Barclays Center, Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports issued the following statement: “We have always and will continue to work very closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners on all matters of security and public safety for our venue and our guests.”

MSG declined to comment as the new protocol is the initiative of NYPD.

Heightened security involving local, state, and federal law enforcement at high-profile sports and entertainment events considered “soft-targets,” such as the Macy’s Day Parade, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, has steadily increased since 9/11 and more recently, threats made by the Islamic State.

Other NYC venues including Yankee StadiumCiti Field and MCU Park are expected to ramp up security measures as more officers from local precincts are trained.

Azoff-MSG Entertainment is an investor in Oak View Group, Pollstar’s parent company.