By Eden Laikin
Building on Nassau’s Active Shooter Seminars, which included response and school safety training, County Executive Edward P. Mangano joined with officials from Nassau BOCES yesterday to unveil a Customer Care Center that will instantly provide local law enforcement with valuable information should a violent incident occur at a school building, before the officers arrive on the scene.
When complete, the Customer Care Center will connect the camera feeds at every participating school and BOCES building, as well as digitized floor plans of the school buildings, with the Nassau County Police Department’s computer aided dispatch system. The Center also provides technology, telecommunications and security services and allows BOCES to monitor the camera footage for non-emergency situations, such as thefts or flooding.
“The terrible tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown has left many families, administrators and faculty concerned about security,” County Executive Mangano said. “While we all hope to never face such a tragedy, residents should know that Nassau County is leading the nation with new measures to protect our children.”
Earlier this year, County Executive Mangano directed the Nassau County Police Department to host several Active Shooter Seminars for all private and public schools, as well as large corporations and hospitals. An active shooter is defined as an armed person who has used deadly physical force on other persons and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims. This could include deadly physical force by means of a gun, knife, or other weapons. The brief included critical need-to-know information for Administrators and Facility & Security Managers, including the Nassau County Police Department’s procedures in responding to an “Active Shooter” situation should one occur.
The Customer Care Center, which is located at Nassau BOCES Lupinskie Center in Westbury, will serve as a Fiber-Optic HUB or network that can provide technology, telecommunications and security services – all in one – to all 56 Nassau school districts. Future improvements will enhance the customer experience of navigating Nassau BOCES’ many programs and services.
Mangano was joined at the grand opening of the Center, by State Sen. Jack Martins; State Assemb. David McDonough; BOCES Exec Director Tom Rogers; BOCES Board President Stephen Witt; BOCES IT Director Tony Carfora; NCPD Lt Ken Strigaro; PD’s Special Projects Coordinator and BOCES project Liason; Plainedge School District Superintendent Ed Salina; Roslyn School District Superintendent Dan Brenner and County Legislators Wayne Wink and Dave Denenberg.
Called one of the largest private fiber-optic networks in the country, the new BOCES system is the culmination of a four-year project that will provide the school districts of Nassau County with improved access to Internet and telephone services. Participating districts will also save at least 15 percent annually on those services, and o will – at a minimum – double their existing Internet bandwidth. Since the project kicked off in summer 2011, 31 districts have been connected.
BOCES partnership, and connectivity, with the Nassau County Police Department for security services is critical. Two districts are already piloting this program: Roslyn and Plainedge.
“It’s a great day when we are all able to work in collaboration and create a partnership for the benefit of our most vulnerable citizens – our children,” County Executive Mangano told those gathered at the Center. “This video connectivity being unveiled today will make a real difference in how our law enforcement officers can respond to any emergency that may arise at a school. It will allow our officers to be prepared for whatever the circumstances, before they arrive on scene.”
While Nassau officials hope to have full implementation of this connectivity at the police department by the end of this year, police are already piloting a similar technology solution with Roosevelt Field Mall, the Nassau Coliseum, Winthrop University Hospital, the townships of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, Adelphi and Hofstra Universities. Other County schools, both public and private, are exploring participation in this public/private security partnership. Pharmacy monitoring is an idea for the future.
“In the not so distant future, this “next generation” technology will see live video pushed out to our patrol cars as the officers are en route to a call,” Mangano added. “This can help victims of violent acts or accidents immensely by receiving the proper medical treatment as soon as possible.