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Suffolk County prepares for worst-case scenarios with active shooter drills

Posted: 7:33 PM, Aug 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-08 19:33:08-04

RONKONKOMA, NY —  Suffolk County officials announced a series of upcoming active shooter drills. Officials want to stress there are currently no credible threats to the County, but they want to be proactive and prepare in the event of the worst case scenario.

"Should an active shooter situation occur here, we want to make sure we are responding as quickly and effectively as possible to save lives," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

County leaders are holding exercises to prepare for a potential tragedy. Officials are armed with technology to improve police response times in the event of a mass shooting, particularly when it comes to keeping the county's youngest residents safe.

"Most recently we announced the SHARE initiative which allows school districts the ability to connect their closed circuit TV camera system directly to the Suffolk County Police real-time crime center," said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.

The SHARE initiative - sharing to help access remote entry - allows police to receive video in real time so that they may remotely unlock doors and watch and track shooters to see their exact location.

"It's a scary world that we live in," said Dr. Yiendhy Farrelly, West Babylon Schools Superintendent. "In school districts, so much of our conversation is focused on safety and security."

The recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have communities nationwide on alert. Thursday, Long Island University campuses were closed after school officials received an unspecified threat on social media. Although the threat was not deemed credible, the University took precautionary measures.

The first in a series of upcoming active shooter drills will be held at a West Babylon school later this month. The drill will also utilize the RAVE Panic Button, a mobile app that delivers critical data to 911 dispatchers and first responders if an emergency situation arises.

"The bottom line here is we have to prepare for every situation and every scenario and that's what we're doing here," said Bellone.

The department also plans to partner with big-box stores and religious institutions for active shooter drills and will explore video sharing capabilities with Suffolk County’s small businesses.