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
Friday, 28 November 2014 00:00
Anthony DePalma has been manager at Covert Avenue’s Raindew Family Center and Pharmacy for 13 years. Last month, at the 30th Annual Small Businessperson of the Year and Legislative Breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club, DePalma got his much deserved recognition when he was awarded the day’s top honor by the Covert Avenue Chamber of Commerce, whose members hail from Stewart Manor and Floral Park.
“My initial reaction was ‘wow that’s very nice,’ I didn’t realize that it was going to be such a beautiful extravaganza,” said DePalma on winning the award. “They did it very, very well. They had a breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club and everything was done beautifully. It was just done very, very nicely. Very proud.”
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
This month’s Garden City Board of Education meeting saw a boost in attendance, and not just from district residents. This was the first board meeting to be held at Stratford School, so teachers and students there stopped by to show off the best it has to offer.
Leading the pack was school principal Eileen Vota, who gave the board a tour of the school before the meeting got underway. Along the way, highlights of the capital improvement project were pointed out, all a result of the 2009 School Investment Bond and Energy Performance Contract.
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
Winter Swim Lesson Registration Announced
The Garden City Recreation Department will be conducting children’s swimming lessons for village residents at the Adelphi University swimming pool in Woodruff Hall on Saturday mornings. Your child must be six years of age by the start of the program to participate. This 10-week session will begin Saturday, Dec. 6. Classes are taught by Red Cross-certified instructors. The cost is $80. These classes are open to residents of the Incorporate Village of Garden City.
Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:42
Learn And Play Paddle Tennis
The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:
Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.
This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.