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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

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

 

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”

If Heather Lehrman is not yet a familiar face to local pet owners, her name is likely to soon become a household name to dog lovers and families with young children, as her children’s book, Bullied at the Dog Park, was released this week. The book is based on a real-life incident with her own dog, Herbie, and fans will have a chance to meet her and Herbie at a book signing at Petco in Glen Cove on Saturday, Oct. 25.

 

“I wanted to help get the message out in my own way about the effects of bullying,” says Lehrman, a resident of Great Neck. “This book teaches children valuable lessons about treating all dogs (and people) with respect, and the importance of simple kindness.”


Sports

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, the Glen Cove Finley Middle School opened their football season with a home game against Thompson Middle School. The game opened with the Glen Cove offense going on a nice drive, which saw quarterback Mike Vaughan score on a 30-yard touchdown run. 

Six North Shore High School athletes competed in the 2014 JCC Maccabi Games and led the New York Delegation to victory, winning gold. The students included Jacob Abramowitz, Brett Bennett, Drew Jacklin, Ben Lerner, Josh Mandell, and Ben Saltzman. The Maccabi Games is a week-long Olympic tournament for Jewish teenage athletes, ages 14-16 years old. It is held in numerous venues across the United States. 

 

Bennett proudly said, “Competing in the Maccabi Games was a unique and thrilling experience for me. It not only was a highly competitive basketball tournament, but it also emphasized the importance of building strong values such as good sportsmanship, leadership, team unity, compassion and respect.

This, for me, was an experience of a lifetime!” 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 15

Live Music - October 16

Wine Tasting - October 17


Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com