Active shooter drills are coming

Officials recently announced a series of upcoming active shooters drills in the event
of a mass shooting.
The first of this series will be held at a West Babylon school later this month. The
focus, officials say, will be to test the new initiative SHARE (Sharing to Help Access
Remote Entry), which links schools to police headquarters.
This newspaper’s sister publication, The Suffolk County News, reported on the
program earlier this summer in the article, “County’s S.H.A.R.E. initiative links
schools to police,” published on June 27.
For the first time during a drill, personnel in the department’s Real Time Crime
Center will connect into the school’s closed circuit TV camera systems to advise
responding officers of the “mock threat,” officials said.
The drill, which officials say has yet to be given a date or location within the West
Babylon School District, will also utilize the RAVE Panic Button, a mobile app that
delivers “critical data” to 911 dispatchers and first responders if an emergency
situation occurs.
Jason Elan, a spokesperson for Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone, said that in
using these various programs, police officers will be “directed to the nearest
entrance and let into the building by remotely controlling the doors.”
Elan added that once other schools are connected with the Suffolk County Police
Department through SHARE, similar drills would be conducted in other school
districts to “familiarize both the schools and officers with the technology.”
The department also plans to partner with big-box stores and religious institutions
for active shooter drills and will explore video sharing capabilities with Suffolk
County’s small businesses.
Bellone stated earlier this month that the “crisis” of mass shootings is “due, in part,
to [the] dysfunction we have seen in Washington.” His comments were made a few
days after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, which killed 10
and 22 people, respectively. The death count in Ohio includes the perpetrator.
Bellone said mass shootings like these “is not normal,” but many have a “sense and
feel the danger of [them] becoming normal.” He then urged leaders in Washington to
“come together and pass common sense gun safety legislation.”
The county executive was asked what other factors he feels are contributing to mass
shootings, other than what some consider to be lax gun laws. “The bottom line here
is that we have to prepare for every situation and every scenario and that’s exactly
what we’re doing,” Bellone said. “Our obligation is to make sure we’re doing
everything we can to keep residents safe, God forbid one of these active shooter
scenarios should happen here.”
The county executive added that these training exercises, which give officers “real
world situations,” would continue as long as the threat remains.

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