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Jun 25, 2019 2:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Unveils New School Safety Initiative; East End Departments Ahead Of The Curve

Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone met with Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart to announce the launch of the county's latest school security initiative. VALERIE GORDON
Jun 28, 2019 2:06 PM

The Southampton Town and East Hampton Town police departments are ahead of the curve in terms of school security.

That was the key point at a media event on Friday, June 21, as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a new initiative that will give school districts the ability to connect their security cameras directly to the Suffolk County Police Department in emergency situations—a program that South Fork town police departments already unfurled on their own last year in some districts.

The county’s initiative, SHARE—or Sharing to Help Access Remote Entry—will provide responding officers with the location and description of an active shooter, as well as help direct officers to specific entry points within the building.

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Susan Ralph said three school districts in the town—Remsenburg-Speonk, Hampton Bays and Tuckahoe—are already enrolled in a similar program with the department.

Similarly, East Hampton Town Police Captain Christopher Anderson said that in emergency situations, the department can connect to security cameras in the Springs, Montauk, Amagansett, Wainscott and East Hampton school districts. He added that the technology dates back several years.

Both East End police departments and the Suffolk County Police Department work in collaboration with IntraLogic Solutions of Massapequa, which provides the software that allows the school districts to share live video footage with law enforcement officers.

Robert Doyle, the chief executive officer of IntraLogic Solutions, explained that the technology took longer to implement in the western portion of Suffolk County than on the East End, because the Suffolk County Police Department oversees more towns when compared to the local departments. “It’s taking a little bit longer administratively to get the program together,” he said.

On Tuesday, June 25, Lt. Ralph explained that police officers are permitted to access the school’s security system only in response to a 911 call, or activation of a mobile application, known as the RAVE Panic Button.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart called the RAVE Panic Button a precursor to the SHARE initiative at the press conference on Friday. The mobile application, she said, provides another option for school officials to notify police of an emergency situation, whereas the latest security measure is “the eyes” within the school.

“The RAVE button is a really nice feature, but it’s not saving the day here,” Mr. Doyle said at the press conference. “When police have to respond to the school and find out where the shooter might be, that takes time.”

Mr. Bellone added that the SHARE initiative would reduce response time and allow police officers to remotely lock or unlock the building’s security doors in situations where seconds are critical. “When seconds matter, that can make all the difference in the world,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Doyle said that the system provides police officers with instant access to school mapping, as well as access to a school district’s public announcement system.

“These are very important tools, and seconds do count,” he said. “This information will save lives—there’s no doubt about it.”

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