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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

In order to meet the necessary budget requirements, the Glen Cove School District will reduce school staff members, starting in the 2014-15 school year. One administrative staff member and nine instructional staff members will be let go, according to Superintendent

Maria Rianna’s report at the Monday night school board meeting. Staff reductions will also be made to teaching assistants, school monitors, substitute teachers and custodial and maintenance workers. The total savings for the district is $1,227,669.

 

As of March 31, revenues for the district total $79,281,428. The revenues include the tax levy ($64,780,719),  P.I.L.O.T.s ($1,908,060), tax on consumer utility bills ($1,250,000)n use of reserves ($1,250,000), State Aid ($8,751,799), all other revenues ($635,850) and appropriation of unassigned fund balance ($750,000).

 

The total appropriations for the district are $80,509,097 and revenues are $79,281,428 with a budget gap of $1,227,669.

 It has been five years since a particularly heavy rainfall closed all the beaches in Glen Cove including Crescent Beach. As per Nassau County Department of Health standards, beaches are ordered closed after heavy rainfall because of storm water runoff that adversely affects bacteria levels at local beaches. Typically, bacteria levels subside within a day or so, allowing for the beaches to be reopened. This was not the way it went with one popular beach after the June 2009 rain storm.

 

“Unfortunately, this was not the case with Crescent Beach,” said Glen Cove Parks & Recreation Director, Darcy Belyea, at last Wednesday night’s public forum at Glen Cove City Hall. “Elevated levels of microbiological contamination continued to be found in the bathing water months after the heavy rain and recent samples show they are still elevated today.”

 

Belyea was one of a number of panelists at the public forum, which included Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, City Attorney Charles McQuair, Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee Eric Swenson and representatives from the Nassau County Department of Health. 


Sports

 

Glen Cove High School players, from left, Tajah Garner, Dejon Taylor, Manny Sican, and Ralik Jackson, after the Long Island Colts u18’s team vs. St. Anthony’s at Robert Finley Middle School last week. Touchdown ‘tries’ by Garner, Taylor and Sican.


The third- and fourth-grade Knights took to the road last weekend as they faced off against Jericho early Sunday morning, April 6.  Jericho’s teamwork and hustle brought down the Knights by a final score of 5 – 0.  The early game may have been a factor as the boys started to play better and more like a team as the game went on.  Once again, goalie Tyler Shea played outstanding in goal and was relieved by Christian Maiorano, who did just as well in the second half.  Andrew Guster played solid defense in the loss.


Calendar

Eggstravaganza - April 16

Live Music - April 16

Community Easter Egg Hunt - April 19


Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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