Jennifer Hsu, Video Producer, WNYC Interactive
Jennifer Hsu produces videos about news and culture for WNYC. She is the creator of the ongoing Know Your Neighbor video series of intimate portraits about living in New York City.
On any given day in New York City, someone could fall onto the subway tracks, a potential jumper could be spotted on a highrise or a wild animal could get loose on the streets. For jobs that require highly specialized skill, the NYPD calls in its elite Emergency Service Unit: a group of 366 officers who last year responded to more than 220,000 jobs.
All ESU officers are trained in search and rescue, SCUBA diving, building collapse and heavy weapons and hazardous materials containment. They lift subway trains, remove roofs from car wrecks and counsel emotionally disturbed individuals out of dangerous situations.
"Our miscellaneous assignments may seem extraordinary to some people," said lieutenant Larry Serras, a 17-year veteran of the unit who helped rescue survivors from the recent helicopter crash in the East River. "But to the guys in the ESU, it's just another day at work."
VIDEO: Go behind-the-scenes with ESU.