Following the recent tragic shootings in public buildings in Wisconsin, Colorado and Texas, and on the eve of the 11th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, United States Congressman Peter King and State Assemblyman David McDonough joined with New York State and federal security experts for a briefing of local religious leaders on best safety practices during “active shooter” incidents at public facilities. An active shooter is defined as an armed person who has used deadly physical force on others and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims.
“In this day and age we must be prepared to detect and fight both foreign and domestic terrorism,” said County Executive Mangano.“The County hosted this forum to increase preparedness and let religious leaders know that the Nassau County Police Department will take any and all threats to public safety seriously as nothing is more important than the safety of our residents.”
InfraGard, a public-private partnership with the FBI, co-hosted the event, which drew more than 100 attendees, representing houses of worship across Nassau County.The briefing took place at the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security in Bethpage and also featured Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the local FBI office, Charles Berger.
Congressman King stated that “Intelligence, state-of-the-art technology and expert policing are essential to safeguarding our committees and houses of worship.”
The forum began with a presentation by officials with the Nassau County Police Department’s intelligence, counter-terrorism and homeland security teams outlining how law enforcement responds to an active shooter situation. This included insight into communication, preparedness and prevention tactics. “Kevin Peterson, Protective Security Advisor from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, spoke about that agency’s role in a public security incident; and several security professionals provided attendees with critical information about deterring and responding to such incidents.
State Assemblyman David McDonough, Chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Public Safety, moderated a question and answer period with a panel of experts. Nassau Police CommissionerThomas V. Dale and Chief of Patrol Steve Skrynecki also addressed the crowd.
“Domestic terrorism has become as much of a threat to our society as foreign terrorism and we must be prepared with the best intelligence and response capabilities to protect our citizens,” said Assemblyman McDonough.
The goal of the briefing was to ensure that the County’s protocols are coordinated so that they collectively provide the best outcome for public safety in an “active shooter” or other public safety incident.
County Executive Mangano and the Nassau Police Department have hosted three previous active shooter demonstrations for public and private school officials. They also host an annual meeting with Rabbis about safety and security during High Holy Day services.
The NCPD’s Intelligence Section was created immediately after September 11th and a Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit followed soon thereafter. Using the latest technology in collecting intelligence on crime in and around Nassau County, the department has become a model for police departments across the state and around the country.