NEW YORK, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The New York Police Department is set to spend more than $700,000 on automatic rifles for the Emergency Services Unit, the New York Daily News reported.
The ESU is called in during hostage situations or possible jumpers. Up until now, members of the unit have had to share rifles. The big buy reflects renewed NYPD focus on counterterrorism efforts in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.
"This goes hand in hand with our active shooter concerns," Deputy Chief Edward Mullen told the Daily News. "It also makes sense because of what is going on around the world."
The department plans to purchase 450 Colt M4 Commandos from Phoenix Distributors, based near Fayettville, Pa.
The ESU began using automatic rifles after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Around that time, the NYPD became the first police force in the nation with a counterterrorism bureau.
In November, NYPD launched a new command of more than 500 officers dedicated to counterterrorism.