School Safety Initiative Announced at Clarkstown Town Board and Police Department Press Conference

BY BARRY WARNER

Pictured left to right are Dr. Thomas J. Morton, Clarkstown Superintendent of Schools; Councilwoman Shirley Lasker; Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack; Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan; Councilman Frank Borelli; Councilman George Hoehmann and David Kirshtel, CEO of the Rockland JCC.

The strategy to deter the unthinkable in the Town of Clarkstown was laid out this week. Police plan to make their presence felt at local schools so any bad guy knows the men in blue are ready to arrive at a moment’s notice and might already be there.

The announcement was made at a press conference on the one-month anniversary of the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Attending were Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack, Police Chief Michael Sullivan, Clarkstown School Superintendent Dr. Thomas J. Morton, Albertus Magnus High School Principal Joseph T. Troy, David Kirshtel CEO of the Rockland JCC, plus town board members Shirley Lasker, Frank Borelli and George Hoehmann.

CC said, “The killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School reminded us, if it could happen in Newtown, it could happen in our town. We are proud of what we do and our community recognizes the professionalism and dedication of our Police Department. If we do nothing, then complacency sets in. Police officers on random patrol will gather information and enhance the ‘cutting edge’ school safety initiative that will not require additional funds.”

Police Chief Michael Sullivan said, “The ‘ice was broken’ when the shootings took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The purpose of the press conference is to get information out there regarding the safety initiative to protect the 37 public and private schools plus the day care centers. The Clarkstown Police Officers will be conducting random, unscheduled, inside and outside safety inspections of the school buildings on their routes on a regular basis during school hours, providing a sense of ‘omnipresence.’ In addition to riding around building perimeters, Police Officers will walk through the buildings, meet with the administrators and custodians plus make suggestions for corrections.”

Sullivan continued, “All of the Police officers will have diagrams of the school layouts. Full-time, armed School Resource officers (SROs) are stationed at the following five schools: Clarkstown High School North, Clarkstown High School South, Nanuet High School, Nyack High School and Felix Festa Middle School. Superintendent’s Day in the district will be a training day for administrators and teachers regarding tactics to be followed during an emergency. The purpose of the program is a way to get the initiative done, make schools safer today and prevent incidents from happening, instead of responding.”

Clarkstown Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Morton indicated that a School Safety Workshop is scheduled for January 28, 2013 with representatives of the staff, Police Department and parents to discuss additional security measures. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district offices. After input from all segments of the community, the district will estimate the cost for additional security and present its findings to the school board.