Written by Betsy Abraham Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00
A day after last month’s Sparks, NV middle school shooting, Nassau County officials announced a new panic alarm program which will allow each school in the county to connect directly to the Nassau County Police Department in case of an emergency.
Despite the publicity behind this county-sponsored program, information provided to the Garden City Public School District has been scant according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen.
“Outside of the press release announcing the panic button initiative, the specifics of when this will take place, who will receive the devices, and the costs involved, we have received no further information,” Dr. Feirsen said.
“The schools in Nassau County are a safe place, and will remain a safe place,” said County Executive Ed Mangano at a press conference at Carle Place High School last month. “Our planning and communication has increased dramatically in the past few years, culminating in this very important two-way communicator, (which) is a very important step forward in protecting our students, teachers and administrators.”
The county will be providing five Live Button 24 Freedom devices at no charge to any school that wishes to participate in the program. Districts will work with the police department to determine the best personnel to carry the wireless device, which is less than three inches long and can fit easily on a key chain or in a pocket. In case of an emergency situation, someone would just have to hold the SOS button on the device for four seconds, and would instantly be connected to the police department’s communications bureau, bypassing 911 dispatch as a priority call. Equipped with a microphone and speaker, the alarm also serves as a two-way communicator.
Another benefit of the Life Button 24 Freedom device is that it can provide the police department with GPS coordinates, so emergency personnel will know exactly where to go.
“It acts as a cell phone, but the difference is, it automatically goes to 911’s computer system and you have a two-way line of communication and a tracking system, so (police officers) know where you are,” says Joe Ingegno, owner of Life Button.
The Village of Garden City has its own police force and as such is in constant contact with the school district according to the superintendent. In addition, the board of education is constantly looking to tweak and upgrade security and safety for all of it students.
“We have a great relationship with the Village of Garden City Police and the Nassau County Police. Communication between the district and the police is excellent,” Dr. Feirsen explained. “We are absolutely interested in the new devices and how best to use them for the benefit of the school community. We are in the process of updating several components of our safety and security measures including the installation of additional cameras, and new classroom door locks. We are also upgrading our building-level PA systems so emergency announcements can be made from any classroom phone. We continue to work very closely with the Village and Nassau County Police to ensure that our safety procedures are state-of-the-art. Student safety is our first priority.”
“When you have a dynamic situation, getting accurate real-time information is priceless,” said First Deputy Nassau County Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter. “This allows us to respond very quickly, and provides real time intelligence that can help officers as they come to the scene.”
The alarm is battery operated and must be recharged every four to five days. According to Ingegno, the button has already proven successful for other clients, such as executives, money carriers, and battered women programs, that may require emergency responders.
School districts will have the option of whether or not to incorporate the panic alarms into their schools, but both Westbury and Carle Place superintendents and administrators are on board.
The Life Button 24 Freedom is just one more way that school districts have amped up security in the past several years. In addition to security personnel and cameras throughout the schools, other school districts including Carle Place have joined the BOCES BoTie Network, which allows law enforcement instant access to floor plans and camera feeds.
Each device costs $150, with a monthly fee of about $12. Nassau County will be able to provide them to schools for free, by discontinuing the antiquated CAPER (Criminal Activity Police Enforcement Records System) device. The Life
Button 24 Freedom device is not only being used in schools, but also in different capacities throughout the police department.
“[Discontinuing CAPER] will more than offset the cost of the monthly fee for each school,” Mangano said.
The police department is buying 2,000 devices and schools wishing to participate in the program would have their five panic alarm devices by the end of November.
Dave Gil de Rubio contributed to this story
Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:00
The Garden City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the presentation of its President’s Award to Robert (Bob) L. Schoelle, Jr., a Garden City resident for 43 years, at the 2014 Pineapple Ball at the Garden City Hotel on Friday evening, May 9. Initiated in 2011, the Chamber of Commerce’s “President’s Award” recognizes above and beyond volunteer spirit and contributions within the Garden City community and beyond. Not an annual award, it is only presented occasionally, which makes this recognition for Schoelle all the more special.
Bob Schoelle has served as chief administrative officer of the Incorporated Village of Garden City for the past 34 years, working with 18 mayors and many boards of trustees. He has served as a member of both the Village Planning Commission and Board of Police Commissioners. His contributions to numerous village projects have contributed remarkably to the quality of life in the village.
Friday, 11 April 2014 00:00
Garvies Point Musuem and Preserve, a place known for its Native American history and artifacts, is now home to the Garden City Waldorf School’s Parent-Child Program. The location is an ideal match since the Waldorf educational philosophy enjoys many parallels with the Native American culture exhibited at the museum. The classes are held in the museum’s interactive exhibit room for children, which features a dugout canoe, a wooden wigwam, woven baskets and a model of a native garden. Since the exhibit encourages creative play with natural materials, it is a perfect fit for the Waldorf program which promotes the same.
One of the interesting features of the program is that it is in truth a parent-child class; parents are learning right alongside the children. Children are encouraged to play cooperatively with their peers, while adults learn to knit nearby. Throughout the program, parents are given advice and tips on how to slow the pace of parenting, how to deal with tantrums and manage technology in our lives. “It’s really nice to get good advice on finding a natural rhythm to our lives,” said Laura Franco of Sea Cliff. “I would say the program is very unique in that way.”
Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:51
The number two ranked Adelphi Panthers Women’s Lacrosse team has gotten off to a fast start to their 2014 season and show no signs of slowing down. Head Coach Rob Grella, entering his third season at the helm, has led his team to an impressive 7-0 record to kick off their campaign. Six of the Panther’s first seven games have been won in commanding fashion in which they have outscored the opposition by a staggering margin of 122-14.Last season, the Panthers continued their tradition of playing hard and fighting off tough challenges. They would finish the 2013 season with an impressive 11-1 record within the Northeast Ten Conference and overall at 18-3, making it to their fourth consecutive trip to the NE-10 Conference Championship where they eventually lost to Le Moyne.
Thursday, 10 April 2014 11:16Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5
The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This year three hunts will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.
Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.