WEST BABYLON, N.Y. — Some Long Island schools are stepping up safety techniques after another arrest of a teenager accused of making a shooting threat against a school.
Suffolk Police said they are serious about prosecuting school threat crimes as they outlined other ways schools can boost security, including how technology can save precious seconds, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Friday.
An active shooter drill helped the Suffolk Police Department prepare for the sort of carnage that tragically played out in Uvalde, Texas.
“Response time not only matters, it is critical and in many cases can be the difference between life and death,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Bellone reminded school districts of available technology. The Rave panic app quickly alerts police of an active shooter and can communicate between teachers and first responders.
All of Nassau County’s schools, but fewer than 75 percent of Suffolk County’s are enrolled. It’s an essential part of West Babylon’s safety strategy.
“Everything, every decision that I make, I make it through the lens of what would I want for my own daughters,” West Babylon Schools Superintendent Dr. Yiendhy Farrelly said.
Armed former law enforcement officers patrol school hallways. Doors are always locked. Swipe cards are required, and closed-circuit cameras can feed directly to police.
It’s called S.H.A.R.E. It enables school cameras to connect directly to Suffolk’s real-time crime center, activated in the event of a shooting. Fewer than half of Suffolk districts have signed on.
“I’ve gotten calls from school districts and parents. What can we do? How can we keep our kids safe? Well, we have part of the answer. There’s technology here,” said Jason Richberg of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Schools can also request enhanced patrols and active shooter training.
“We’re going to look to start doing mobilization drills and table-top exercises to make sure that we are prepared to respond at a moment’s notice,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said.
Schools are also taking every threat seriously. A 15-year-old boy became the latest arrested for a social media threat in Commack, making four arrests here since the Texas school shooting and 16 threats in Suffolk.
“Actions have consequences and these cases will be investigated and they will be prosecuted,” said Dep. Chief John Rowan, acting chief of detectives.
The Rave app and S.H.A.R.E. program are free to school districts that reach out to Suffolk Police. Officials hope never to have to use them, but say being proactive today can avert tragedy tomorrow.
Officials said much of this technology is not limited to schools. Supermarkets, other stores and religious institutions can also sign up.