The documents, titled “Cobra Task Force Deployments” and stamped “law enforcement sensitive,” detail the deployment of 20 police officers.
COBRA, which stands for chemical ordinance, biological and radiological awareness, is a federally funded program that uses classroom instruction and drills to teach patrol officers how to recognize and respond to terrorist threats. There was a session at the Manhattan South Task Force station house on Wednesday.
New York Police Department spokesperson Paul Browne said publication of the documents didn’t cause a security breach.
“The assignment sheet was tossed out the day after the assignments were completed,” he said. “Granted, we would have preferred if it was disposed of more discreetly, but its discovery by a dumpster diver posed no threat to the public or anyone else.”
The eight pages included a map of Times Square and instructions on vehicle sweeps, and they detailed what officers should look for when stopping vehicles, including missing identification numbers, strange odors and fresh body work.
Blogger Bucky Turco says he found the forms folded neatly in half at the bottom of an otherwise empty green garbage can directly outside the station on Thursday.
“And so I reached in and grabbed it,” he said. “I put it in my backpack and didn’t really look at it until I got home.”
He said he posted the documents to his site animalnewyork.com because they didn’t seem sensitive enough to cause any harm, but he said he hoped his actions would prevent similar documents from getting out in the future.
“It just seemed strange that here we are, three blocks from what is considered still the No. 1 target in New York City,” he said. “What really bugs me is that we spend all this money on license plate readers and in the end, if some guy leaves a document out … what good is it anyway?”