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Securing The Kids

Glen Cove officials are actively working on improving security

Keeping children safe from harm is a parent’s number-one priority, and the City of Glen Cove, in coordination with the school district, has been doing its part to ensure the safety of the students, as well as the entire community.

“We are confident we are doing and have done as much as we can do,” said Glen Cove Police Chief William Whitton.

In response to the school shooting in Newtown, CT, the city and the school district took immediate action to secure the schools and assess the security procedures currently in place to see what could be improved. Part of that assessment came in the form of police training at the high school over the winter break.

According to Det. Lt. John Nagle of the Glen Cove Police Department, the police practiced handling various scenarios regarding possible school violence.

Drills are not a new action for the police department, however. Chief Whitton said that the department has been drilling in schools for active shooter response for the past 7-8 years and that the officers are very familiar with the layouts of the school.

He said the community support for their security drills was not as strong in the beginning, adding, “It’s a different world we live in now, with different attitudes.”

In early January, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Laria, Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi, Chief Whitton, the district’s head of security and a representative from BOCES met to discuss what could be done to improve security.

Mayor Suozzi described it as a brainstorming session, going over such issues as who has the authority to take charge in various situations, and how to best “secure our most valuable asset.”

“We are actively engaged and will continue to improve security until we feel satisfied we have reached a level attainable, given the economic resources,” said Mayor Suozzi.

After the meeting, the school district developed a three-pronged strategic plan that pertains to prevention, deterrence, and preparedness and response. Dr. Laria sent an email directing principals to take specific actions to improve security in the schools.

“As we develop a strategic action plan based upon a comprehensive needs assessment, the implementation of the foregoing 12 actions is essential to provide a safer and more secure school environment,” Dr. Laria said in the email.

The actions included:

 -Reviewing and implementing the district-wide school safety plan.

 -Examining the school’s red bag contents regularly.

-Arranging six lockdown drills every school year.

-Locking classroom doors.

-Formulating a confidential plan to identify students with atypical behavioral tendencies.

-Tightening building entry security.

-Communicating with the GCPD and maintaining regular contact with retired Sgt. Jack McDougal, who was hired by the mayor to act as the liaison between the schools and the police.

 -Reaching out to the school district’s safety coordinator.

 -Improving school-perimeter security and having a police presence on the grounds.

-Identifying ways to better target-harden the schools.

-Cooperating with the security needs assessment.

-Notifying the superintendent of any untoward incident.

“We’re always proactive regardless of the actions,” said Chief Whitton. “It’s part of our routine patrol strategy to patrol places of worship and schools, any place sensitive to acts of violence. But we have stepped up patrol of the schools.”

He noted that the police department has a good relationship with the schools due in part to participation in the PRIDE program and After 3, and he said that about 12 officers are mentors to students. Because of the relationship, the police have developed an “inroad” to the school population. 

“They view us differently than they might otherwise—they look up to us,” Whitton said of the students.

Whitton said it is incumbent on the schools to identify students with behavioral issues. While they feel that no one in Glen Cove has risen to the level of being able to commit a serious action, the schools are always on the lookout for alarming behavior, and will interview the student in question.

“Everyone needs to have their eyes and ears open; if something doesn’t look right, you have to say something.”

News

It was the second annual goal setting workshop at Glen Cove High School on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and both the board of education and the public came up with some sound ideas for the district. School Superintendent Maria Rianna presented a slide show of four main areas that are the focus of district goals.

 

“We began this process last year and these goals are representative of what the community wanted to see,” said Rianna.

Glen Cove residents may see a 1.64 percent increase in the tax levy next year, the amount proposed at last week’s public hearing. Mayor Reginald Spinello and the Glen Cove City Council held an initial reading of the proposed budget for 2015, and will take final vote on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the next city council meeting.

 

“It’s very easy for a first time mayor to raise the taxes and blame it on a prior administration, and that is not what I am doing,” said Mayor Spinello. “In the past three administrations there were budgets with increases of  almost 28 percent to down to 12 percent, but it’s a different time now...I think that the residents are certainly going to feel relief. I put together a budget...that I believe is fair and reasonable and a good budget.”


Sports

The Town of Oyster Bay, in conjunction with the New York Rangers, will once again host a special Try Hockey for Free Program on Sunday morning, Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to noon at ithe Ice Skating Center located in Bethpage Community Park, 1000 Stewart Ave. 

 

The event will allow youngsters a unique opportunity to sample the sport of ice hockey. Four morning sessions will be available. Session times are 8 to 9 a.m., 9 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, North Shore High School quarterback Michael Floccari shattered a school record and tied a Long Island record for the most touchdown passes in a game. This accomplishment ties him with E.J. Clark from Seaford High School (1977) and Joe Capobianco form Lawrence High school (2011). 


Calendar

Harvest Square Dance - October 24

Fall Festival - Octobner 24 - 25

Peace, Politics and Projectiles - October 26


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com